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Becoming a blood donor – Everything you need to know

IHS Property Management is an official SANBS blood donation supporter. We actively arrange blood donation drives on-site at our complexes for both our tenant’s convenience as well as to help increase the blood levels which is desperately needed.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not just blood… it’s a life!

Did you know…

  • Most donors donate blood 1.7 times a year
  • About 8 out of 10 people receive a blood donation atleast once in their lifetime
  • Type O can be given to anyone

Who qualifies to be a blood donor?

  • Be 16 years or older

  • Weigh more than 50 kg (480ml vs. 4l–6l in body)

  • Lead a sexually safe lifestyle

  • Be a committed regular donor

  • Be healthy

  • Remember to eat a meal or snack before you come and donate blood

Why should I donate blood?

  • Donate because it saves lives
  • Are between 16 and 65 years of age and over 50kg
  • Replenish their blood within 2 weeks of donating
  • Can save 3 lives with each unit of blood donated

Most donors donate blood 1.7 times a year

Who receives the blood?

  • Medical treatment (cancer, aplastic anaemia) 28%
  • Birth 27%
  • Scheduled surgery 21%
  • Pediatrics 10%
  • Orthopedics 10%
  • Accidents 4%

About 8 out of 10 people will receive a blood donation once in their lifetime

1 unit blood

  • Red blood cells – lasts 5 to 6 weeks
  • Platelets – lasts 5 days
  • Plasma -frozen lasts 1 year

Type O Blood can give to anybody

  • Only 1% of people donate
  • Needs about 3000 units of blood a day
  • SA has more than 79 donation centres countrywide
  • Applies the most stringent tests to ensure that all blood is safe

For more information and to see where you can donate, visit SANBS.ORG.ZA

Because at the end of the day it is not just blood. It’s a life.

Frequently asked media questions

Group O blood is always in need. This is because it can be given to any patient in an emergency. One out of three people belong to Group O, so the chances of this blood group getting used in hospital is much more than for any other blood group. Compare it to bread: if more people eat white bread than any other bread, then surely the supermarkets will have more white bread on their shelves, to cater for their customers’ needs. It’s a simple principle of supply and demand.

O, B, A, AB.

We are in need to our A blood group donors to become Source Plasma and Apheresis donors. This process takes at least 45 minutes where the donor sits on a machine and we only harvest the plasma or platelets from the donor.  There is an increasing need for these products and we would like to encourage more donors to please start donating these at their local Blood Donor Centre.

  • 16 to 75 years of age.
  • Eaten a meal in the last four hours
  • Weigh over 50 Kgs
  • Live a sexually safe lifestyle
  • Must be in general good health

People can donate blood every 56 days. A regular donor is someone who has made three or more donations in a year.  the Plasma and Platelets (Apheresis) can be done every 2 weeks.

Voluntary, non-remunerated (unpaid) donors who give blood regularly are the safest blood donors. Research from many countries shows that people who give blood freely and without any financial reward have little reason to conceal information about their lifestyle that may make them unsuitable to give blood, ether temporarily or permanently. Their primary motivation is to help other people and not to obtain any personal benefit, except the satisfaction of knowing they have helped to save someone’s life.

The life of every person who receives blood depends on the honesty of the individual donors who have given their blood.

Blood is composed of several different elements, namely red cells, plasma and platelets, each of which fulfils a particular function. These can be used for specific purposes so that each unit of blood can be used for more than one patient.

The more regularly you donate, the better the chance of your donated unit getting used for all components.

SANBS has found that its regular donors are its safest donors. These people are familiar with the danger of the window period and they know what risk behaviour entails. They have been through all SANBS’s education processes.

If you are donating blood for the first time, your red blood cells won’t get used. Your plasma gets quarantined until your next donation. If all tests come back negative after your second donation, the quarantined plasma from your first donation will be used.

This also applies if you haven’t donated blood for a while.

Once you have made three donations and your blood still tests negative for sexually transmissible diseases, all the components of your blood gets used. You have to donate blood regularly!

Even though every single unit of blood donated undergoes sophisticated testing for transmissible diseases, there is still a window period when the presence of HIV in the blood cannot be detected through testing.

A person may be infected with HIV without knowing it and it is for this reason that we ask that any person who has taken part in risk behaviour not to donate blood.

Since the inception of its new risk model in October 2005, SANBS is conducting Nucleic acid Amplification Technology (NAT) tests on every unit of blood that is donated. This is a very sensitive test that detects the presence of the HI-virus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis in blood. However, there is still the danger of the window-period that no test in the world can detect.

SANBS is the first country in the world to have implemented NAT testing on such a large scale for individual testing of blood.

No. With every donation, your blood gets tested. So, if you have donated blood for the 300th time, your blood still gets tested every time after you’ve donated.

No, absolutely not. All needles and finger-prick lancets are sterile and used once only. After use, each lancet and needle is placed in a special medical-waste container and incinerated.

Trained staff are employed to collect all blood donations and strict protocols are followed. There has never been an incident in which a blood donor has contracted HIV from donating blood.

Some patients do have the option of using their own blood. This is called Autologous Donation and must be discussed with their doctor 4-5 weeks before the scheduled surgery. Prior to the operation blood is collected from the patient, tested and held in special storage. It is then available for transfusion during or following the surgery, should the need arise.

People are unable to donate when they have a cold or flu and so we ask all our fit and healthy donors to please donate if they are due so as to keep the stocks stable. As soon as a person is well again and has been off their antibiotics for more than 7 days, they may donate.

People are unable to donate when they have a cold or flu and so we ask all our fit and healthy donors to please donate if they are due so as to keep the stocks stable. As soon as a person is well again and has been off their antibiotics for more than 7 days, they may donate.