National Blood Shortage

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has less than two days of blood supply – and is ringing an urgent alarm-bell and calling on its donors to assist.

Students are an invaluable resource in saving lives as they make up a large proportion of the national blood donor base. Yet the recent protest action at universities has disrupted scheduled blood drives and in combination with preparations for end-of-year exams, the situation is negatively impacting on the national blood supply.

Blood drives at university campuses and schools yield about 40% units of blood collected annually and although SANBS has systems in place to minimise the effects of shortages experienced during exams, protests have been an unpredictable factor.

As a result of the dangerously low blood stocks, SANBS is appealing to members of the public who are due for their regular donation to visit the nearest donor centre as soon as they can because many lives will be affected by this.

“A shortage in blood hinders our ability to save hundreds of lives daily because without an adequate supply, essential treatment for various patients cannot occur,” says SANBS spokesperson Vanessa Raju.

Blood is used for emergencies as well as treating people who are living with different blood diseases and women who haemorrhage while giving birth.

SANBS must collect about 3000 units of blood daily in order to meet daily demand for this resource and keep stock levels above the two-day mark.

To find you nearest donor centre or mobile visit or call the toll-free number 0800 11 9031.