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Covid-19 takes its toll on SANBS blood stock

Covid-19 restrictions severely limited the SANBS’s ability to collect adequate blood stocks.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) appealed to community members to donate blood to avoid a critical blood shortage. The SANBS was hit hard by the pandemic as community members and donors tried to limit their exposure to the virus.

Lockdown regulations prevented the service to access schools, tertiary institutions and corporates to host blood drives.

“We are experiencing a high demand for blood from hospitals and are in dire need of blood donations across the country,” said Silungile Mlambo, SANBS chief marketing officer.

“Our group O blood stocks have dropped significantly. We are appealing to all South Africans to donate a unit of blood in aid of those who need it most.”

Blood group O is considered the universal blood group because anyone, regardless of blood type, can receive type O blood without risking a transfusion reaction.

SANBS aims to collect an average of 3 000 units of blood every day, nationally through planned, sustainable blood drives.

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The safety of donors and staff are of utmost importance to the SANBS. Extensive precautionary measures have been taken to ensure donor safety.

All persons accessing donor clinics are thoroughly screened, anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms or symptoms of infection is advised to delay donation until they are well.

Blood donations are safe during this time and persons confirmed with Covid-19 infection or at risk will be deferred from donation as follows:

• Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of 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 the last date of contact.

• Anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms on the day of donation will be deferred for seven days.

“The shortages pose a real danger to the health-care system in our country,” said Mlambo. “There are many people who rely on these life-saving donations to remain healthy and lead normal lives.”

For more information contact 0800 11 9031 or visit www.sanbs.org.za

Fact box
To be eligible to donate blood, you need to:

• Be free of any cold and flu symptoms.
• Be between the ages of 16 and 75.
• Weigh more than 50kg.
• Be in good health.
• Consider your blood safe for transfusion to a patient.
• Lead a healthy lifestyle.

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Contact the newsroom by emailing:Editor at germistoncitynews@caxton.co.za, or Busi Vilakazi (Journalist) busiv@caxton.co.za.

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