'Blood demand is greater between COVID waves' - SANBS pleads for donations

SANBS medical director, Dr Karin Van Den Berg, said the period between COVID-19 waves was critical as more blood was required during this time.

Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The SA National Blood Service (SANBS) says its blood shortages were particularly concerning as the country exits the COVID-19 third wave.

On Sunday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases announced that the third resurgence in South Africa in the general sense was over.

READ: South Africa officially out of the COVID-19 third wave - NICD

SANBS medical director, Dr Karin Van Den Berg, said blood stocks were low, and that the current three-and-a-half day supply was not an accurate representation of the situation at hand.

"Unfortunately, that is a false high level because over the weekends we don't use that much blood, but we also don't collect that much. By Tuesday our levels have dropped because of all the patients going for their elective care on Mondays and the use of the blood goes up. So we expect that we will have dropped below the three-day cover by the end of the week," said Van Den Berg.

She said the period between COVID-19 waves was critical as more blood was required during this time.

"As the COVID wave comes down, the use of blood increases as everybody's surgery that was postponed, as well as oncology treatment for cancer patients, for example, there's a period of catch up and that goes together with significant blood utilisation."

The blood service urged all eligible donors - whether they were vaccinated or not - to come forward and donate.

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