Updated 08 August 2017

Call for potential donors as Cape blood stocks run low

The essential service says they only have enough type O blood stocks for two days.


Western Cape blood stocks are critically low, with the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) urgently calling for potential donors.

“WPBTS needs to maintain a blood stock level of five days at all times to meet the demand of patients who are reliant on blood transfusions for their survival," says says Irene van Schalkwyk, WPBTS PR and Promotions Manager.

The most-used group

Of particular concern is that the organisation only has two days' stock of the critical group O blood left.

Van Schalkwyk added: “The most-used blood type and the one which is most in short supply, is the type O. This is because it is the universal type – it can be given to any other blood group.

“This blood group is used in cases of emergency, where there isn’t necessarily time to test the blood type of the recipient, and it’s also the group most used during transfusions for infants.”

The service needs donors, who meet the requirements, to make their way to their nearest blood donor clinic to donate blood – even if they aren’t a type O or B.

Those who wish to donate blood must take the following into consideration before making their way to a blood donation clinic:

  • You must be older than 16 years.
  • You must weigh more than 50kg.
  • You need to be in general good health and lead a safe lifestyle.
  • You must eat a substantial meal within three to four hours before donating.

The service says the shortage, which comes in the midst of National Blood Donor Month, has also been negatively impacted by regular Muslim donors being unable to donate during the month of Ramadan, as well as flu season excluding other potential donors as well.

Regular donors who have been ill or have experienced flu-like symptoms, should wait until they are symptom-free for at least seven days (a full week) before donating blood,

For more information on donating blood, click here.

Read more:

Blood donation

Take it easy after blood donation

Blood donation questionnaire


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