The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is currently experiencing critical blood supply shortages. According to a statement by the blood service Covid-19 restrictions have severely limited their ability to collect enough blood stocks because they are unable to access schools, colleges and corporate institutions for blood drives.
“As a result, our blood stocks have dropped significantly. We are hoping, however, that donors who are due to donate are able to find the time to make a difference to the lives of others by donating blood,” SANBS Chief Marketing Officer Silungile Mlambo.
SANBS aims to collect an average of 5000 units of blood every day, nationally. It is through planned, sustainable blood drives at companies, organisations and institutions that they are able to achieve this collection target.
“We are appealing to the public to make venues available to us for mobile blood drives. Suitable venues include spaces accessible and open to the public,” she added.
“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,” petitioned Mlambo.
Blood Group O is considered the universal blood group because anyone, regardless of blood type, can receive type O blood.
According to the statement blood donation is still safe during this time and people with confirmed Covid-19 infection or at risk to infection will be deferred from donation as follows:
- Individuals who have travelled overseas will be deferred for 28 days from date of return from these countries.
- Individuals with confirmed diagnosis with Covid-19 infection will be deferred for 28 days from date of complete clearance of symptoms.
- Individuals who have had close contact with anyone with confirmed or probable Covid-19 infection will be deferred for 28 days from last date of contact.
- Anyone exhibiting flu-symptoms on day of donation will be deferred for 7 days.
“It is important to note that individuals are not at risk of contracting Covid-19 through the blood donation process, or via a blood transfusion since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmittable by donation or transfusion,” Mlambo concluded.