“It really is an awesome thing to do,” says blood recipient, Sunita Morar. She received blood in August 2019 due to a hemorrhage during labor. Thanks to a blood donor, Sunita was able to survive and be a mother to her newborn baby.

Sunita – and thousands of other patients who incur trauma related incidents have a second chance at life because of the generous donations made by South Africans. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is urgently calling on Group O and donors to donate blood to meet demand.

Scheduled blood drives at universities, businesses and on other sites yield a significant amount of the units of blood collected annually and although the SANBS has systems in place to minimize the effects of shortages, there has been an increasingly high demand for blood in hospitals leaving Group O blood stocks at a low.

As a result of the low blood stocks, the SANBS is appealing to members of the public to visit the nearest donor center as soon as they can.

“We are experiencing a high demand of blood from hospitals and are in serious need of blood donations across the country.

Our Group O blood stocks are approaching a low. We are appealing to all South Africans to donate a unit of blood in aid of those who may need blood or blood products during this period,” says Silungile Mlambo, SANBS Chief Marketing Officer.

Group O is considered the universal blood group because anyone — regardless of blood type — can receive type O blood without risking a transfusion reaction.

Mlambo says, “The best gift you can give anyone is the gift of life. We know that South Africans have huge hearts and we call on them to fully embrace the spirit of Ubuntu by giving their blood donation today”.

The SANBS has planned various blood drives around the country with extended hours and additional weekend blood drives to ensure a stable supply of blood during this period. However, it is only possible to meet the demand with the help of regular and committed blood donors. Blood donations go beyond just the person who receives blood – its’ not just blood, its saving a nation.

Visit www.sanbs.org.za or contact 0800 11 9031 to find out where you can donate blood this festive season. Follow us on Twitter (@theSANBS), Facebook (@SANBS) and Instagram (@thesanbs).