With an expected increase in road accidents over the December period – there were 163 road fatalities in the province over the festive period last year – the ideal is to have five to seven day supply, said WPBTS public relations officer Marlize Mouton.
As a result, the WPBTS is calling for more donors, particularly those with the ‘universal’ O-blood group that can be given to any patient.
Past experience has proven that if WPBTS enters the Festive Season with a 5-7 day supply, blood stocks will be maintained throughout the Festive Season, said Mouton.
She said to achieve this, 700 units of blood need to be collected to fulfill the need of the Western Cape hospitals.
Donors can donate at various mobile clinics throughout the week in the Western Cape and WPBTS has two fixed sites. Donors must be between the ages of 16-65 and weigh more that 50kgs.
Research has indicated that although 75 percent of the population in the Western Cape may require blood transfusions in their lifetime, only 1.5 percent are blood donors.
Each donation can potentially save more than three people’s lives, and is used in a number of ways: to replace massive blood loss; red cells for treatment of anemia and bleeding after trauma surgery; plasma to treat burn wounds and provide antibodies against disinfectants; and platelets are used in the treatment of leukemia and bone marrow transplants.
Mouton said visitors to South Africa were also invited to donate blood, provided they meet the standard donor health criteria and have not been in a malaria area.
South Africa is currently the only African country that tests every single donor’s contribution with specialised NAT (Nucleic Acid Testing) testing, which uses DNA technology that effectively narrows the detection period of HIV infection to between 5-11 days. HIV, Hepatitis B & C and Syphilis are all tested for. - Katie de Klee