Blood stocks in South Africa, used for life-saving hospital procedures, remain very low. You should know that donating blood is safe, even during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, and that your donation can help to save lives.
The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is appealing to South Africans to donate blood during this time, as the organisation is struggling to meet its collection goals.
“With people going back to work, we are experiencing less donations and a decline in blood stocks. We have also seen some reluctance from our corporate partners and schools to host us on site, so we are struggling to meet our collection goals,” says SANBS communications officer Khensani Mahlangu.
Many people may worry about donating blood during the coronavirus outbreak. But the SANBS has put in place a number of measures to ensure that blood is donated safely.
The measures include frequently disinfecting all equipment, surfaces and donor beds, wellness screening of donors and proper social distancing between donors.
“In addition to thoroughly assessing donors and staff at all entry points to our facilities, we have equipped all sites with supplies of alcohol-based antiseptic sprays and wet wipes,” Mahlangu explains.
The blood donation process is painless and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Afterwards, you will also receive juice and a snack.
Donating blood saves lives
One blood donation can potentially contribute to saving the lives of three people. Blood is needed to save people with illnesses such as blood cancer or kidney problems, or for people who lose blood from injuries suffered during incidents like car accidents.
Tebogo Mphahlele suffers from a disease called haemophilia, which causes blood thinning and causes people to bleed for long periods of time after an injury. He needs regular blood transfusions to keep him healthy.
“If we as haemophiliacs do not get blood transfusions, many of us would die. I am living proof that blood saves lives. To everyone who donates blood, I want to thank you for letting people like me live a normal life,” says Mphahlele.
Mahlangu says that despite these uncertain times, there will always be a need for blood.
To find out more about how to become a blood donor, contact the SANBS on 0800 119 031.