South Africa faces critical blood shortage on the eve of holiday travel

Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

Currently the SANBS is facing a huge blood shortage with less than three days stock of group O blood, far below than the minimum of five days stock required to deal with the country’s needs.

Speaking to Health-e News, SANBS communication officer Khensani Mahlangu said the increase in travel due in December has made the situation more critical.

“When schools, universities and businesses close for the December break, we are unable to host mobile blood drives on their sites which negatively affects our blood stock levels,” she said.

This is why the SANBS really need people to go out whenever they can this December to donate.

According to SANBS the severe blood stock shortages means there may not be sufficient available blood for patients in need over the festive season.

The increase in accidents after the strict lockdown was lifted has exacerbated the situation, and a rise in Covid-9 cases is also filling hospitals in the Eastern and Western Cape.


President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce a tightening of the lockdown rules in a speech to the nation on Thursday 3rd December.

Meanwhile SANBS has issued an alert and needs to collect a minimum of 3500 units a day to be able to adequately hospitals.

The most pressing need according to Mahlangu is for group 0 donors, but she stressed that the supply of all blood types is low.

“We also urge people be responsible during this festive season. If we face a severe second wave of COVID-19 infections, our blood stocks will be hard hit,” said Mahlangu.


SANBS Chief Operations Officer Ravi Reddy believes tough times lie ahead unless people step up and donate.

“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 are 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,” he said.

“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.”

The SANBS has called on people to look out for the upcoming blood drives and to help at this time.

The organisation is urging all eligible donors to visit their nearest mobile and fixed donor centres in order to save more lives this festive season.

– Health-e News




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