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Updated 20 June 2017

Video: Behind the scenes at a blood processing lab

Ever wondered what happens to the blood you donate? This video shows you what happens once the blood arrives at the South African National Blood Service laboratory.

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As South Africa observes National Blood Donor month, we take you behind the scenes in the labs of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).

Here, a dedicated team processes donated blood and ensures that it passes stringent tests and analysis.

Each unit of donated blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis. Only blood that tests negative for all of these diseases is passed on to patients in need at blood banks and hospitals.

According to Eriana Booysen, head of processing at SANBS, the Service never has more than three days of blood stored up in its reserves. Due to this and the need to increase blood reserves, the SANBS encourages people to consider becoming donors. 

People between the ages of 16 and 65, who weigh more than 50 kilograms and lead a sexually safe lifestyle are eligible to register as donors. 

A single donation of blood can save up to three lives, because technicians at the SANBS labs are able to separate the blood into different components – like plasma, platelets and red cell concentrates – to help various patients with different ailments. 

We spent an afternoon learning about all the activities that take place in the lab – Health-e News 

Watch: What happens to blood at the South African National Blood Service

Read more: 

Top excuses for not donating blood 

The health benefits of donating blood

Wait a month to donate blood after visiting a Zika area

 
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