SANBS faces drought

GIVING BACK: The South African National Blood service held a blood drive at Mall of the South in 2016, when Charlene van Rooyen donated her second unit. With her is Michael Munaka (qualified phlebotomist), belinda Radebe (clinic supervisor), Nonkululeko Kgabala (donor care officer) and Dennis Mahibila (donor recruiter).

WHILE the Western Cape battles a severe, prolonged drought, the rest of South Africa is currently facing scarcity of a different kind, a critical lack of blood.

Blood supply in South Africa has gone down to just one-and-a-half days of Group O stock, according to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).

The blood service is calling on all blood donors to come forward to donate blood urgently, to stop cancer sufferers, people in life-threatening situations and anyone else who needs or relies on blood transfusions being at risk.

“The blood stock is dangerously low. The blood supply is currently at just one and a half days Group O stock, amounting to less than 1 500 units of O blood available around the country,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS.

“A healthy blood stock is 5 000 units of O blood a day. The situation, simply, is critical. We are appealing to South Africans – active donors, lapsed donors and potential donors – to stand together right now to bolster the national blood stock, and we thank them, in advance, for pulling together.”

Mlambo says blood is critical for cancer patients and women in childbirth – who constitute by far the greatest groups of people requiring blood transfusions.

“So many people in life-threatening situations require blood. It’s what saves a haemorrhaging mother’s life, so that she can raise and love the baby she has just brought into the world. It’s what saves someone suffering complications during major surgery. It’s what helps cancer patients endure and survive treatment.

“And that’s the point: it’s not just blood. It’s saving people’s lives, through a simple, easy donation,” says Mlambo.

The SANBS is therefore urgently appealing to South Africans to step forward and donate blood immediately.

“More than that, however, the SANBS appeals to residents to become regular donors. By donating blood only four times a year, we can easily avoid situations such as the one in which we find ourselves,” says Mlambo.

To find out more about donating blood and to locate your nearest SANBS donor centre, visit or call 0800 11 90 31.

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Julie Maule
News Editor

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