The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has issued an urgent need for blood donations. They only have blood stock for three days, which means people like Mbali Blose (21), whose life depends on blood transfusions to survive, will die without it.
Blood donation has been lifesaving for Blose from Johannesburg. She was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, and needs regular blood transfusions to stay healthy and active.
Like many living with life-threatening conditions, she is worried of the shortage in blood supply at the SANBS. “I was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia when I was doing grade five,” she says.“My body cannot generate its own cells, meaning I need regular blood transfusions in order for me to stay healthy.”
The South African National Blood Service currently has a blood stock of just three days. It is in dire need of blood group AB- donors. The SANBS needs to maintain a blood stock level of five days for each blood group to ensure sustained blood availability for patients in need.
Blose depends on the donation of blood to survive. The unavailability of blood at the blood banks is crucial and detrimental to her well-being.
Blood donation is vital for several life-threatening conditions. People who need blood transfusions include, among others, accident victims, those living with anaemia and patients who are undergoing surgery.
All ages need blood
According to the SANBS lead consultant Dr Solomzi Ngcobo, the SANBS is averaging at the very lowest in blood banks. He adds that the sufficiency of blood is a combination of two variables, it is a demand vs supply situation.
The need for blood transfusion is not age bound, anyone at any age might need your healthy blood to prolong their livelihoods. Like 16-year old Bokang Mosia, who at eight was diagnosed with brain tumor, his saviour was the SANBS.
“I went for a scan and was diagnosed with brain tumor, and I underwent surgery,” Mosia says.
After recovering from the operation, doctors informed his family that he had lost a lot of blood and needed numerous blood transfusions to get him back to his health. “To those who donated blood, thank you. I am alive because of you,” says Mosia to people like Eastern Cape based Kamvelihle Mngxaso, who makes it his mission to go donate blood every year since 2019.
“After numerous attempts to have my blood sucked out with no success due to iron deficiency in my system, I eventually started donating in 2019 as I was approved of all medical concerns,” Mngxaso says.
Help others live longer
Mgxaso’s desire to become a blood donor was propelled by high number of accidents in South Africa due to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the high rate of health care demand in our communities.
“I am donating blood because there are many people with various conditions that require them to undergo transfusions time and again. Knowing that one donation can save up to three lives means we should not find ourselves in situations where a person can die due to insufficient blood or the likes.”
Mngxaso says he hopes that many people across the country start donating blood, so that people like Mbali and Bokang do not have to suffer. However, he says, it is also very important that the SANBS does not charge anyone for blood transfusions because the blood has been freely and voluntarily donated for those who are in need.