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SANBS appeal: Are you type B or type O? The country needs your blood

The SANBS has appealed for more blood donors.

The SANBS has appealed for more blood donors.

  • The SA National Blood Service says certain blood stocks are critically low. 
  • Those with blood type B and blood type O are urged to donate.   
  • South Africa has a shortage of active blood donors.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has urged South Africans to donate blood as stocks remain at a critical level.  

Those with blood type O and blood type B are particularly encouraged to donate.  

“Currently, blood type B and type O levels are at critical levels, with 2.9 and 2.8 days’ worth of stock left,” according to Khenyisa Mahlangu, the spokesperson for the SANBS.  

Mahlangu said the increased demand for blood was due to the number of surgeries during this time. To help patients adequately, blood stocks needed to be at a level for five days.

However, Mahlangu added that the SANBS had been battling for blood donations.

READ | SA’s healthcare sector faces collapse if govt fails to implement NHI, warns WHO expert

But, despite experiencing shortages, the SANBS is grateful to the dedicated people who donate during times of appeal.  

Thandi Mosupye, a senior manager at the SANBS, said: “We are experiencing a high demand for blood from hospitals across the country. The nation’s blood stocks are strained, necessitating our appeal for increased donations in aid of those who may need transfusions.

The SANBS said: “A single donation constitutes red blood cells, plasma and platelets, and has the potential to save three lives. A unit lasts for only 42 days after donation.”

A shortage of donors

Currently, 1% of South Africans are active blood donors, according to Mahlangu.

The shortage of active blood donors can be attributed to general apathy, people being unable to go to blood donation drives, and a lack of education, according to Mahlangu.  

“Ideally, we would like between 1-2% of the population to be blood donors,” said Michelle Vermeulen, the spokesperson for the Western Cape Blood Service.

She said the Western Cape was experiencing blood shortages. 

According to Vermeulen, during the Covid-19 period, education with regard to donating blood was curtailed at schools, tertiary education facilities and workplaces.  

Those eligible to donate blood are individuals between 16 and 75, and weigh more than 50kg. 

Anyone who is interested in donating blood can contact 0800 11 9031, or visit the SANBS website, or the SANBS social media accounts. 

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