WITH the festive season around the corner, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is appealing for blood donors to start donating in their numbers to avoid shortages of blood in KwaZulu-Natal hospitals during the busy Christmas period.
Says Ianthe Exall, head of marketing for SANBS in KZN, “SANBS continues to show commitment to serving the community by ensuring that there is always sufficient and safe blood for patients in need.”
She says severe bleeding can kill even a healthy woman within two hours if she is left unattended.
Such bleeding contributes to about 44% of maternal deaths in Africa, she adds.
“Up to a quarter of these maternal deaths could have been prevented by access to safe blood.”
In South Africa 26% of the blood supply is used for childbirth and gynaecological cases, Exall says.
“Severe bleeding during childbirth requires multiple transfusions to save the mother and the baby.
“In this type of situation emergency, O-type blood is used and the hospitals often do not have sufficient emergency blood to save the mothers.
“This means that SANBS needs to collect more O-type [universal blood type] to prevent maternal deaths.
“SANBS has embarked on an O-type blood group campaign. Regular blood donors with type O-type blood can give a child a chance to grow up with a mother.
“SANBS calls on all O-type blood donors to give blood and to commit to donating regularly.
“As we approach year end, we also appeal to all other blood groups to come forward and assist in building up stocks for the festive season ahead. Remember … your blood saves lives,” says Exall.