Thursday | 02 April | 2020
By Reon Janse van Rensburg
The state of national lockdown does not only impact negatively on the economy and local businesses, but it also impacts the supply of the South African National Blood Services (SANBS).
By Wednesday morning (1 April 2020) the SANBS’s only had enough stock for the next 3,9 days and it only has enough platelets for 0,3 days – not even enough for a full day.
The SANBD called on South Africans to donate blood and platelets as usual and also informed South Africans that all SANBS branches would be open during the lockdown period.
According to a post on the SANBS’s webpage the service is concerned about its current stock levels and they state that they continue to rely on the public’s help to save lives during the pandemic.
The SANBS attributes the decline to the national lockdown and the fact that fewer people leave their homes for fear of being contaminated with the coronavirus. The increase in the number of people who test positive may result in fewer healthy people being able to donate blood, while the lockdown will restrict the movement of people, preventing people from getting to a branch of the blood service.
According to a spokesperson for the SANBS, donations dropped by 32% since Pres Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster and more than 800 clinics normally set up at shopping malls, office buildings, music festivals etc. have fallen away, resulting in a loss of almost 20 000 units.
The blood bank also pointed out that it should be borne in mind that according to scientists the coronavirus cannot be transmitted by blood.
All the precautions are in place at all SANBS branches at all times. Staff are wearing masks and gloves and your health is as important to the staff as in the past.
What should I do to donate blood during the lockdown period?
- Phone your nearest SANBS branch and make an appointment. If you are not sure which is your nearest branch, please go to sanbs.org.za of dial 0800 199 031
- The branch will send you an SMS with the date, time and place where you can donate blood.
- If you are pulled off by the police or a traffic officer, the SMS will serve as proof of where you are going to.
- If you notice a mobile unit on the site where you are buying essential items, you may also go there to donate blood.
The SANBS will decline any patient showing any flu symptoms and patients will be required to complete a questionnaire on their travel history.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.