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Blood stocks fluctuate throughout the year, and with just a short while until the festive season is in full swing, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has less than 3 days stock of group O blood, – and this is much lower than the 5 days’ stock needed to sustain the country’s need.

The SANBS is facing severe bloodstock shortages, to the extent that there may not be sufficient available blood for patients in need over the festive season. The SANBS is urgently appealing to all potential and existing blood donors that are due to donate, to visit a SANBS blood donation site, to donate their precious unit of blood.

Although the festive season is fun for most people, it is a difficult period for doctors who work hard to save lives, needing blood and blood products to do so. “Traditionally, December is a difficult time for the SANBS, with limited access to corporate blood drives and availability of donors, impacting on the ability to collect the minimum of 3 500 units of blood a day that is needed to treat patients. We approach this season with low stocks and we know that we have some tough times ahead if donors do not respond to our call to lend a hand,” said Ravi Reddy, SANBS Chief Operations Officer.

The SANBS’ inability to access venues for blood drives is also hampering meeting collection targets successfully. As a result, blood stocks continue to dwindle steadily.

“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 in need of it,” added Reddy.

The SANBS is, furthermore, appealing to the public to make venues available for blood drives. Suitable venues include spaces accessible and open to the public. “As we head into the busy holiday season, we are facing a particularly challenging situation.

About the SANBS

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is an independent non-profit organisation, and one of the leaders in the discipline of blood transfusion. SANBS operates in eight out of nine provinces in South Africa (except for the Western Cape, which is serviced by the Western Cape Blood Service). It also provides crucial support to countries in the SADC region.

SANBS supplies over one million blood products annually and is rated among the top blood services in the world. This pedigree comes, as a result of world-class testing and collection protocols which ensure that the blood which is transfused is always of top quality.

The blood is processed into its constituent components; red blood cells, plasma and platelets therefore in principle a single blood donation can save up to three lives.

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