The donation of blood is as critical to the national health system as air is to a human. However, according to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), less than 1% of the country’s population are active blood donors.

A unit of blood lasts for 42 days after donation, making it imperative for constant donations from every single South African.

“The health system cannot function without a steady supply of blood. According to the SANBS, the country’s blood supply will run dry in just 2.8 days. This is why we urge our members to make constant donations at their nearest SANBS Donor Centre,” says Graham Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Profmed.

To ensure a safe and efficient blood supply in the country, the SANBS says it aims to collect around 3000 units of blood per day, making it essential for regular donations from individuals. It adds that donors can give blood as often as once every eight weeks and that every unit of blood can save up to three lives.

“The importance of blood donations can’t be stressed enough, especially in an emergency situation. When a patient is in dire need of a blood transfusion and there is very little or no blood reserves available, that patient faces certain death. Donating blood is a quick and simple thing that you can do to make a big difference to somebody,” explains Anderson.

SANBS’ minimum requirements to be a blood donor:

  • First time donors need to be ages of 16 and 65 years old
  • A minimum of 50kgs
  • You are in good health
  • You lead a low risk lifestyle
  • You consider your blood safe for transfusion
  • You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood
  • You have not donated blood in the last 56 days
  • Your pulse is between 50-100 regular beats per minute

However, the SANBS urges self-exclusion from donating blood when you are being treated for HIV/AIDS, there is a chance that you may have been exposed to HIV/AIDS and you are being treated for a sexually transmitted infection.

To find your nearest SANBS Donor Centre, visit www.sanbs.org.za today to help save a life

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