More than 3 000 lives at immediate risk due to blood stock crisis, SANBS reveals

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The SANBS has urged South Africans to continue donating blood.
The SANBS has urged South Africans to continue donating blood.
Photo Supplied: SANBS
  • The SANBS is currently experiencing critical blood shortages.
  • This shortage places an estimated 3 174 lives at immediate risk.
  • Covid-19 severely limited the SANBS' ability to collect adequate blood stocks.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is currently experiencing critical blood shortages, placing an estimated 3 174 lives at immediate risk.

"The figure used is based on the days' supply at hand when the donation appeal goes out. This in an approximation of the number of people who will potentially be affected if the demand remains high and blood stocks are inadequate," communications Ooficer Khensani Mahlangu told News24 on Tuesday.

This comes after the National Blood Service recorded that, during Level 1 of the lockdown, it had a decrease in blood stocks [around mid-August], where collections did not match the amount of blood going out. 

The reason behind this is trifold, according to Mahlangu.

"We have a high demand from hospitals now that people are moving around more freely and elective surgeries have resumed. We are also suffering from a lack of mobile blood drive venues where a bulk of our blood stocks were traditionally collected (including schools, universities and corporates).

"Lastly, people are still apprehensive about visiting donor centres because there are mindful of keeping safe amidst the current Covid-19 outbreak," she said.

READ |  Don't let coronavirus stop you from donating blood - SANBS

The SANBS said that, despite the extraordinary response from its regular donors, the need for blood products was rapidly "starting to increase".

"Covid-19 restrictions have severely limited our ability to collect adequate blood stocks, particularly because we are not able to access schools, colleges and corporates for blood drives," it said.

It further stated, that while some South Africans may not be able to donate, they could play a role and assist in collecting much needed blood from networks of family, friends and colleagues.

It also called on its regular donors who are due for donation to visit their nearest centre, to boost blood stocks that are critically low.

"At the SANBS, we are doing our utmost to continue to maintain adequate blood stock levels to service the needs of our country. The high demand for blood requires that we work even harder together to ensure that no lives are lost due to blood shortages," CEO Ravi Reddy said.

"Booking group donations and hosting mobile blood drive events is another meaningful way to engage your network to save lives," he added.

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