Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African news agency(ANA)
Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African news agency(ANA)

Roll up a sleeve and donate blood, pleads SANBS as KZN’s blood stocks dwindle

By Karen Singh Time of article published Mar 24, 2021

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DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL is running out of blood and in dire need of donations, according to SA National Blood Service (SANBS) spokesperson Khensani Mahlangu.

KZN was the most critical province with a supply of 1.9 days on Monday with a slight increase to 2.4 yesterday.

She said anything below 2.5 was critically low; a five-day stock supply was needed to be safe.

“This is less than half the stock that we actually need to have at hand which means that quite a few lives are at stake at the moment.”

Mahlangu said that on Monday, blood stocks nationally were at 4.3 days which dropped to 3.9 days’ supply yesterday.

Road accidents across the country over the long weekend could have contributed to the decline in stock, she said.

On Monday three provinces were in the red (in danger) while Gauteng was the only province in the green yesterday, she said.

“Today, KZN is in the red and the rest of the provinces are at orange and amber, which means that we are still under pressure in those areas.”

Mahlangu said blood could be brought in from other provinces but SANBS preferred not to.

However, she said, arrangements could be made for scheduled surgeries while emergency cases were still an issue. “We are able to pre-plan and bring in stocks from other provinces. However, for emergencies, it could be a problem if they run low.

“People in the rural areas will experience a bit more complications in terms of blood stocks being low.”

The blood service has issued appeals in KZN for residents to donate blood to raise stock levels.

Mahlangu said one of the blood service’s biggest challenges was scheduling in terms of getting people to donate or getting spaces in schools and corporates where the bulk of blood was collected.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people were understandably apprehensive to allow SANBS to go into different venues to collect blood, she said. “We are taking all the precautions and people allowing us in can see that.”

Mahlangu said the blood service lost about 120 000 donors over the past year.

“Considering that only 1% of South Africans are active blood donors, this puts us under severe pressure.”

Collections had decreased by 12% over the past year. “We really appreciate our donors who donate when we send out appeals.”

Mahlangu appealed to those who are able to donate to sign up to a tracking tool on their Facebook page.

“You will get a list which tells you which blood donor centre in your area is requesting blood. It also helps you track when you are due for donation.”

She encouraged the public to watch the #NoStereotypes campaign videos, launched last week, on all the blood service’s social media platforms.

“It gives you a greater perspective and more background on stereotypes and teaches people about different practices that some think disqualifies people from being donors.”


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