The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is acknowledged and recognised as an essential service by government and therefore, blood collections, laboratory services and blood supply will continue to function, with strict Covid-19 safety protocols in place.
The Department of Labour released and issued SANBS with a letter of good standing in this regard.
SANBS appeals to the public to please remain calm, open-minded and safe during these trying times, by adhering to the restricted measures announced by the president. In doing so, it is important to remember that the action of donating blood remains an essential service, and may therefore proceed as per usual, as long as all precautions are followed.
“After the Level 4 announcement, most blood drives are recording very poor support from the public, with blood being needed every single day. Enough blood tomorrow won’t help anyone today,” SANBS said in a statement this week.
“A person may donate blood immediately after being vaccinated, provided they don’t have any symptoms and that the usual blood donation screening tests are in order.”
SANBS does offer an appointment system whereby donors can schedule specific donation appointments in advance. This is to avoid waiting times, giving donors with appointments preference, even though walk-in donors will still be more than welcome.
On World Blood Donor Day on June 14, SANBS launched a new Commitment Campaign whereby donors will receive a special gift on every 2nd donation and not only for donors who were able to donate blood four times in the same calendar year as before. Any person who donates a unit of blood from now until August 14 2021 will receive the launch gift.
After this, donors will continue to receive a gift on every alternate donation.
“It is therefore important to donate blood regularly, not only to keep on saving lives, but to ensure donors qualify for the many amazing gifts up for grabs. By using these branded gifts, donors are true ambassadors for SANBS, and we rely on that influence in reaching more people,” SANBS said.
Another major change was the Hemoglobin cut off levels that was reduced from 12.5 to 12.0 for females and increased to 13.0 for male donors. An additional laboratory ferritin test will be done on all donors, on every fourth donation. Ferritin tests the iron stores rather than the Hemoglobin that only looks at how much iron is already in circulation.
“With these changes, SANBS will be able to provide better donor care, resulting in many more happy years of donating blood.”