We need blood so we can save lives - SANBS

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There is a shortage of blood in South Africa, ahead of the festive season
There is a shortage of blood in South Africa, ahead of the festive season
GALLO IMAGES: Lindsey Wasson

One donation can save three lives and that is the message that is being preached by the South African National Blood Services as the country heads into the festive season with low reserves.

Every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

According the SANBS website, there is a shortage of blood. SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system.

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SANBS communication officer Khensani Mahlangu calls on South Africans to donate.

“This figure is not static. To be safe, we need to have at least five days’ blood stocks on hand. Anything below that opens us up to the possibility of running short and having to implement issuing restrictions in the worst case scenario.

“We always place emphasis on  the need for donations from blood group O because this group is a universal donor. It is important to state that we need all donors who can and are willing, to donate,” she says.

Khensansi says they have noted the effects of Covid19 in their drive to get donations during the year.

“COVID-19 restrictions have severely limited our ability to collect adequate blood stocks, particularly because we are not able to access schools, colleges and corporate for blood drives. As a result, our blood stocks have dropped significantly,” she says.Anyone who fits the following criteria can donate blood:

·         You are between the ages of 16 and 75 years old, for first time donors.

·         You weigh a minimum of 50kgs (and a minimum of 55kgs for plasma and platelets).

·         You are in good health.

·         You lead a low risk lifestyle.

·         You consider your blood safe for transfusion.

·         You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.

·         You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and 14 days for plasma and platelets).

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Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly.

Blood donors can donate every 56 days, log on to the SANBS website to find a centre near you.

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