The SANBS Needs Us to Donate Blood
By Nomali Cele
There are no two ways about it: blood saves lives. When you donate blood, you are giving others another chance at life. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has been collecting blood since 2001 in all South African provinces, except the Western Cape, which uses a provincial blood service.
How much blood is donated to SANBS?
Not enough. At this moment, the SANBS are sitting with only three days’ worth of blood in their reserves. Blood is an important medical resource that is always in demand and SANBS is never not in need of donations. While the need for blood skyrockets during peak seasons such as the festive season and long weekends where people are travelling long distances, blood donations are needed regularly.
Who receives blood donated to the South African National Blood Service?
Blood transfusions are performed on anyone who has lost a lot of blood during a surgical procedure or as a result of an accident or anyone who needs it due to a medical condition. This makes car accident survivors, cancer patients, pregnant women and people with anaemia the top recipients. A single donation of whole blood is given to three patients.
In 2015, Ntšepase (23) was hospitalised for an appendicitis and abdominal TB. After undergoing several procedures, she was informed that she needed a blood transfusion. “I ended up having surgery in which I lost a bit of blood,” says Ntšepase.
When her doctor informed her that she would need a blood transfusion, Ntšepase says she was sceptical. “At first, I was totally against the idea of having other peoples’ blood entering my body and I actually told my doctor that I didn’t want the transfusion but my friends convinced me to do it and I’m now glad I did.”
Where does the blood used by South African National Blood Service come from?
The SANBS conducts public blood drives where members of the public are invited to donate. People who are eligible to donate blood are between the ages of 16 and 65 and weigh over 50kg. People are encouraged to become regular donors and donate more than three times each year.
For Molefe (35) who has been donating blood since 2010, it’s a cause he cares about. Says Molefe, “Blood donation was something I always wanted to do. For me, it didn’t make sense that the country was short of blood and there were plenty of us who were capable of donating. One of my friends was already donating and I went with him the first time I donated.”
Donate blood, save a life
All donors, whether regular or people donating for the first time, save lives. Type O blood is a universal donor, which means the blood can be used for any patient regardless of their blood type. But all blood types are needed.
“People will always be hesitant to donate or even receive blood but it really saves lives,” says Ntšepase. “I will never know the people who donated their blood to me but they saved my life and I healed faster because of the transfusion. Now I’m doing so much with my life that I wasn’t even thinking about two years ago. And for that, I’ll forever be grateful. We live in such a messed up world with such little love around but donating blood and saving lives can really make a difference.” She adds.
Regular donors like Molefe are reliable sources for the SANBS. Molefe remains committed to donating blood as long as he can. “Maybe one day when it is on the news that we have too much blood and they’re sending potential donors away I might stop,” he says. “But it seems there is always a need for more blood and donors.”
The South African National Blood Service is always looking for blood donations and May is no different. Donate blood today.
Where to donate blood in Gauteng:
Maponya Mall Donor Centre (011 938 3283)
Craighall Donor Centre
Colony Shopping Centre (011 447 665)
Fourways Donor Centre
Forest Road Design and Décor (011 465 6441)
Centurion Donor Centre
Jean Village Shopping Centre (012 644 1901)
Ga-Rankuwa Donor Centre
Ga-Rankuwa City Shopping Complex (012 700 1642)
Hatfield Donor Centre
Hatfield Plaza (012 362 3344)
Find a South African National Blood Services Centre near you on the SANBS website.