Your blood can solve blood services’ crisis

MBOMBELA – The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has less than two days’ blood supply, and is calling on donors to assist.

Students and high-school learners are an invaluable resource in saving lives as they make up a large proportion of the national blood-donor base. During the holidays these regularly scheduled drives are disrupted, and coupled with protest action at universities, the national blood supply is under pressure.

Blood drives at university campuses and schools yield about 40 per cent of the units collected annually and although SANBS has systems in place to minimise the effects of shortages experienced during exam and holiday periods, stock levels are dangerously low.

SANBS is appealing to members of the public who are due for their regular donation to visit their nearest donor centre as soon as they can, because many lives will be affected by this.

“A shortage in blood hinders our ability to save hundreds of lives daily because without an adequate supply, essential treatment for various patients cannot occur,” says SANBS spokesman, Vanessa Raju. Blood is used for emergencies as well as treating people who are living with different blood diseases and women giving birth. SANBS must collect about 3 000 units of blood every day in order to meet daily demand for this resource.

SANBS is a non-profit organisation which aims to provide all patients with sufficient, safe, quality blood products and related medical services in a sustainable manner. It is rated among the best in the world in the provision of blood and blood products, as well as research and training.

SANBS operates across South Africa with the exclusion of the Western Cape, and supports its counterparts across the SADC region.

To find your nearest donor centre or mobile visit www.sanbs.org.za or call the toll-free number 080-011-9031.

To donate in Mbombela, visit the donor stations in Riverside Mall and I’langa Mall.

If you donate blood at I’langa during February, you can get a free breakfast at the Panarotti’s Pizzeria. SANBS Lowveld spokesman, Relebohile Kobeli, urged Lowvelders to make use of this opportunity to save a life. Enquiries: 013-742-2070.

You can also donate in Lydenburg Donor Centre located at 22 Kantoor Street. Enquiries: 013-235-3612. For more, visit sanbs.org.za or follow SANBS on Facebook and @thesanbs on Twitter.

Minimum requirements to be a blood donor

  • You are between the ages of 16 and 65 years old, for first-time donors.
  • You have to weigh a minimum of 50 kilograms to donate blood, and at least 55 kilograms to donate platelets.
  • You are in good health.
  • You lead a low-risk lifestyle.
  • You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
  • You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
  • You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and platelets in the last 14 days.)

Please ask for more information if

  • You have had surgery in the last six months or are due for an operation within the next six weeks.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.
  • You are on medication such as antibiotics.
  • You are from, or have travelled to, a malaria area.
  • You have had cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, a bleeding disorder or any other chronic medical condition.
  • You are involved in a “hazardous” occupation or sport eg: operating heavy machinery, flying a plane, scuba diving or working at heights.

Also read: N4 Claims another life

  AUTHOR
Elbi Dippenaar
Journalist

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