South Africa’s blood supply crisis averted

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Durban (Daily News iol.co.za) – Following a massive public drive over the past two weeks the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) said the public had responded en mass, overturning the dire low supply of blood.

However KwaZulu-Natal remained in the red with just a 2.5 days supply in the bag, said SANBS spokesman Ivor Hobbs.

“Things are looking good at the moment. We recently commemorated World Blood Donor Day (June 14) which coincided with the #MissingType campaign (June 11 to 18), which asked organisations to remove the letters A, B and O (symbolising the “missing” blood types with the same letters) from their logos for a week, and for South Africans to temporarily delete the As, Bs and Os from their social media handles – all to raise awareness of the need for new blood donors. The campaigns were successful resulting in all blood stocks being recovered. At one point we even reached over five days supply,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the national supply was at just over three days.

“In KZN supplies are still very low sitting at 2.5 days, but we do distribute from other centres in the province,” said Hobbs.

However he said while they celebrate the gains of the last two weeks, they encouraged more to become donors. “We need 3 300 units of blood a day to meet needs. So while we thank each and every person who responded to our call, at the same time we encourage more people to donate blood,” said Hobbs.

Out of South Africa’s population of 56 million people, only about 1% donate blood regularly.

Hobbs said despite the common misperception that most of the blood donated in South Africa goes to accident victims, blood collected by the SANBS was spread much wider, including:

28% is used to treat cancer and aplastic anaemia
27% is used during childbirth
21% is used for scheduled surgery
10% is used for paediatric care
6% goes to laboratories
6% is used for orthopaedic care
4% is used for accident or trauma victims

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