Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks.
Every unit of blood can save up to three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system. This is the journey of 1 unit of donated blood.
There are many SANBS blood donation centres open to the public. To find the location nearest to you, click on our map. Or you may consider motivating your employer to host a blood drive at your offices for the convenience of all staff members.
Blood is life
From the day that human life is conceived, blood fulfils a life giving and nurturing role. Blood is the fluid of growth, transporting nourishment from digestion and hormones from glands throughout the body. Blood is the fluid of health, transporting disease fighting substances to the tissue and body waste to the kidneys.
Because it contains living cells, blood is alive. Unlike medications that are manufactured, blood cannot be manufactured. Healthy donors are the only source of blood for those who need it.
If it was not for blood donors, life-saving medical treatment for children with life threatening anaemia, trauma victims, women with pregnancy related complications, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, complicated surgical procedures and cancer treatments would not be possible.
What is your type?
The differences in human blood are due to the presence or absence of certain protein molecules called antigens and antibodies. The antigens are located on the surface of the red blood cells and the antibodies are in the blood plasma. Individuals have different types and combinations of these molecules.
The blood group you belong to depends on what you have inherited from your parents.
To date, more than 20 genetically determined blood group systems exist, but the AB0 and Rh blood group systems are the most important ones used for blood transfusions.
Not all blood groups are compatible with each other. Mixing incompatible blood groups leads to blood clumping, or agglutination, which is dangerous for individuals.
What is the significance of my blood group?
All donors belong to one of four blood groups: A, B, AB or O.Â You are also classified as either Rh positive or Rh negative. There are therefore eight different main blood groups.
Not all blood groups are compatible with each other and the success of modern transfusion medicine depends on classifying and matching donors and patients correctly.
Group O blood is known as the universal blood type, as it can be given to patients of any blood group.