Winter shortage — donating blood could save a life

2013-06-12 00:00

WITH the winter and holiday season upon us, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is pleading with the public to donate blood to avoid blood shortages.

Fewer people donate blood during this time as winter means flu season is in full swing.

Of those who are not sick, many are on antibiotics, preventing them from donating blood.

Around 45% of blood is collected from blood drives at schools and universities. These blood donations decrease during this time, as students are busy with midyear examinations and then go on winter holiday.

Even though the donation of blood decreases, the need for blood stays the same, Khulekani Zuma, the public relations and marketing practitioner of the SANBS, told  The Witness.

“Currently we are sitting with two days worth of stock. If this doesn’t increase, we will be in a crisis. We count five to seven days of stock as safe.”

Mohamed Goolam, SANBS donor recruiter, said: “We understand that many people will be sick or involved in mid-year examinations, but it only takes about 30 minutes of your time to make a huge difference to others in need of blood.

“We understand the demands of life, work, family and just the daily tasks to get by. However, we want to encourage the public [by letting them know that] their one unit of blood can save up to three lives and, as our latest campaign states, ‘don’t let life get in the way of life’.”

On Friday, transfusion services around the world will celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The SANBS will be holding a blood drive at the Liberty Midlands Mall from 9 am to 6 pm on Saturday.

There will also be a blood drive at the Protea grounds on June 15 from 9 am to 3 pm. For those who want to donate blood at any other time, there are donation centres at 294 Jabu Ndlovu Street and at the Hayfields Shopping Centre at the Blackburrow Road entrance.

These centres are open from Monday to Saturday.

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