As of Monday, the South African National Blood Service was sitting at less than three days’ stock of the universal O-type blood group.
Pretoria – As of Monday, the South African National Blood Service was sitting at less than three days’ stock of the universal O-type blood group.
Normally, the organisation requires a five-day stock to sustain the country’s blood demand, but this time round it is facing severe shortages.
The organisation said even though the issue of blood stocks fluctuating throughout the year was normal, with just a few days before the festive season they were concerned they would not be able to keep up with the demand.
It pleaded with potential and existing blood donors to visit their nearest donation centres and donate.
Its chief operating officer, Ravi Reddy, said the festive season became an even more difficult period to save lives when they where in need of blood and blood products to do so.
“Traditionally, December is a difficult time for the service, with limited access to corporate blood drives and availability of donors, impacting on the ability to collect the minimum of
3 500 units of blood a day that is needed to treat patients.
“We approach this season with low stocks and we know that we have some tough times ahead if donors do not respond to our call to lend a hand.”
Reddy said their O-type blood stocks had dropped significantly and were appealing to all South Africans to donate a unit of blood.
Not all blood groups are compatible with each other and the success of transfusion medicine depends on classifying and matching donors and patients correctly.
The O blood group known as the universal blood type, as it can be given to patients of any blood group, so the organisation is urging everyone, and particularly those with this type, to come forward.