The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is currently experiencing critical blood supply shortages and urges the public to donate blood urgently.
SANBS chief marketing officer Silungile Mlambo said, “We are experiencing a high demand of blood from hospitals and are in dire need of blood donations across the country. Our Group O blood stocks have dropped significantly and we are appealing to all South Africans to donate a unit of blood in aid of those who need blood.”
Blood Group O is considered the universal blood group because anyone, regardless of blood type, can receive type O blood. SANBS said that Covid-19 restrictions have severely limited their ability to collect adequate blood stocks, particularly because they are unable to access schools, colleges and corporates for blood donations.
SANBS aims to collect an average of 5 000 units of blood each day nationwide. They are able to achieve this target through planned, sustainable blood drives at companies, organisations and institutions. SANBS appeals to the public to make venues available for mobile blood drives. Suitable spaces include those that are accessible and open to the public.
Extensive precautionary measures have been implemented to ensure donor safety. All persons accessing donor centres are screened and anyone exhibiting any flu-like symptoms or symptoms of infection is advised to delay donation. “The current shortages pose a real danger to the healthcare systems in our country. There are many people who rely on these life-saving donations to remain healthy and to lead normal lives,” said Mlambo.
The South African National Blood Service is urgently calling eligible donors to donate blood to help meet the current high demand. Visit https://t.co/XLegiWOrn7 or contact 0800 11 9031 to find out where you can donate blood. Your blood saves lives. pic.twitter.com/b8SPNBCsIT— The SANBS (@theSANBS) September 9, 2020
It is important to note that people are not at risk of contracting Covid-19 through the donation process or via blood transfusion since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmittable in this way. Individuals who are free of any cold or flu-like symptoms, are between the ages of 16 and 75, weigh over 50kgs, are in good health, lead a healthy lifestyle and consider their blood to be safe for transfusion to a patient are urged to visit their nearest donor centre.