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SA's blood stock 'drastically low'

The SANBS says it currently has a one day blood supply and has appealed for donations.

FILE: The SANBS says its current stock is drastically low. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) says its current stock is drastically low.

The organisation says it has a one day blood supply at the moment and has appealed for donations.

The SANBS's Vanessa Raju says January is usually a tough month as they struggle to keep supply at an acceptable level of five days.

"Often this happens because everyone is back to work so people are busy and blood donation isn't a priority right now, but if you want to donate, please do."

At the same time, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed earlier this week that a backlog of nearly 70,000 blood samples are yet to be tested at government laboratories due to a lack of facilities and staff.

He said hopes have been raised that the opening of a new lab in KwaZulu-Natal will relieve the pressure.

Thousands of blood samples to be used in drunken driving cases and post-mortems are currently waiting testing at the Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria pathology labs.

This has led to a waiting period of up to 11 months for results which are crucial in court cases.