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14 November 2017

It appears that November is going to prove to be a testing month – not just for pupils and students writing their matric and other end-of-year examinations, but also for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), which is experiencing a critical shortage of blood because of the lack of blood drives it can hold at schools and universities.

There is a critical shortage of blood across the country, with blood stocks at just 1.5 days of group O stock, equating to 1 473 units as of 1 November.

The situation in KwaZulu-Natal is particularly acute, with less than one day’s supply of blood available. The blood supply in the province is currently at 0.7 days of stock (129 units), compared with a healthy blood stock for KZN of 500 units.

The Northern Zone only has 1.2 days of stock available and Gauteng only around 1.5 days. Blood stocks in the Free State/Northern Cape and the Vaal are currently at 1.7 days. It is considered a crisis when blood stocks dip below two days of stock available.

“The situation has in fact reached a critical level in KwaZulu-Natal and we appeal to all South Africans – active donors, lapsed donors and potential donors – to go to their local donor centre and donate blood to bolster the national blood stock,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS.

Mlambo says blood is critical for cancer patients and women in childbirth – who constitute by far the greatest groups of people requiring blood transfusions.

To find out more about donating blood and to locate your nearest SANBS donor centre, visit sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31.

SANBS press release, 2 November

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