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Blood supply in South Africa as gone down to just 1.5 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 1.5 days Group O stock, amounting to less than 1500 units of O blood available around the country,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS.
“A healthy blood stock in the province is 5000 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.
“Healthy” donors means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, “healthy” also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.
“Risky behaviour”, such as having sex with someone you dont know or injecting yourself with drugs, means that you have been at risk of contracting transfusion transmissible infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The SANBS rely on your honesty and request that you NOT donate if you have engaged in risky behaviour.
To find out more about donating blood and to locate your nearest SANBS donor centre, visit sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31.