Human Rights Day, marked annually on 21 March 2020, is a national observation and proclamation of the rights we enjoy in our country. This iconic day is a stark reminder of the cost that was paid for the human rights that we enjoy today.
Health is a basic human right. Every year, millions of South Africans receive a life-saving blood transfusion that is made possible by the selfless acts of our donors. A right that we all enjoy, owing to the comprehensive South African Bill of Rights preserved in our constitution.
Our mandate, as an organisation, is to save lives and ensure that every citizen has access to blood transfusions when they are in need. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) supports the rights of every citizen and understands that access to affordable healthcare of the highest quality is as a basic human right. Under the theme the year of unity, socio-economic renewal and nation-building, we acknowledge the role that blood donors play in helping us to serve the greater South African community.
On the foot of the COVID-19 outbreak, we might be faced with a blood collections crisis. The SANBS encourages healthy members of the public to visit their nearest donor centre to do their part for Human Rights Day and donate blood. We continue to follow the guidelines issued by the NICD promoting healthy personal hygiene practices at all our fixed and mobile donor centres.
“We, at the SANBS, observe Human Rights Day to emphasise our commitment to equal access to healthcare services – which is one of the basic human rights. Anything that you, as an individual, can do to make a difference can and will change the lives of so many people in need,” said Silungile Mlambo, SANBS spokesperson.
The SANBS urges donors to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their fellow citizens. If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath), you are encouraged to delay donation until you are in good health.