THE SOUTH AFRICAN National Blood Service (SANBS) said the number of black donors have significantly increased due to nationwide awareness campaigns.

“Primary to our objectives is educating as many people as possible about blood donation and in turn have them commit to blood donation… across all racial groups and return every 56 days,” Marelda Sibanyoni said.

Last year Wits Vuvuzela reported on the lack of black students participating in the SANBS blood drive and awareness campaign.

Sibanyoni added that the minimum amount of blood that SANBS aims to collect at the Wits University blood drive is 100 units per day over a five day period which translates into 500 units per week.  However, the improvement in blood donors is not always possible due generally low turnout.

According to the SANBS, 2 442 units were collected in 2012 over a series of nationwide blood drives.

Jessica Tovey, 2nd year speech and therapy, said donating blood is important and “makes a difference in someone’s life”.

She urged students to step forward and donate blood as her brother was once a blood donor. “Donating blood makes a small difference, as one day we might all need blood donation and I encourage people in donating blood as well,” Tovey said.

The SANBS has recently noted blood shortages around hospitals especially around holiday periods which directly impacts blood collections for patients in hospitals.

“Our donor base is made up of 412 000 people which is less than 1% of the South African population, and unfortunately it is not always possible to ensure that these donors donate a minimum of four times a year,” Sibayoni said.

The current stock levels are at 4.8 days which indicates healthy stock levels. However, this is not a fixed figure and changes every day and is entirely dependent on the number of people who give of their time and donate blood,” Sibanyoni said.

Christine Kouria, 2nd year speech and therapy, said sceptics of blood donation are often the recipients of blood transfusions.

All collected blood is destined for hospitals in the public and private sector, based on the needs of the hospitals.