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Category Archives: Blood Donation


Types of donation

Whole blood Donations

Donating a unit of blood for a patient. This unit of blood can be processed into 3 components namely red cells, platelets and plasma. The components are used to save 3 lives.

This process takes approximately 30 minutes to donate.


Donation process

Donating safe blood means you are committed to participating in a vital community service to improve the quality of life, for patients in need of blood transfusions.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has various measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of blood donors and patients.

These measures ensure that our blood supply is among the safest in the world.

You will be required to complete a Donor Questionnaire. The questions are aimed at assessing your health and lifestyle to eliminate any effects that could pose a risk to your health and the health of a recipient.

This is followed by a one-on-one interview with the nurse who goes through the questions to ensure that the questions are understood and that the donor understands the importance of being honest on the questionnaire.

Your blood pressure and haemoglobin (iron) levels are checked.  (The checking of your iron level is done with a small prick to your finger.) If you meet this criteria you may continue, if not you will be deferred


World Blood Donor Day 14 June

Can I save 3 lives today?



Giving your lifesaving blood to help in the medical care of patients justifies respect, courtesy, trust, and appreciation. The SANBS values its blood donors, as we could not fulfill our lifesaving mission to the South African community without the support of blood donors.

To ensure that donors and prospective donors have full confidence in the blood donor process, we state the following rights and responsibilities of all donors

Donor’s Rights

Respect: You have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect in all interactions with SANBS employees and volunteers.

Considerate and Respectful Collection and Care: You have the right to high quality, considerate, and respectful blood collection experience. You also have the right to receive prompt, truthful, and clearly understood answers to questions about the donation process.

Quality Donation Standards: You have the right to be assured that SANBS meets or exceeds all requirements of the applicable standards in the collection and handling of blood donations.

Privacy: You have the right to receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition for donations and to be assured that all donor information is handled with confidentiality, privacy, and security.

Information: You have the right to be informed of the ways in which SANBS intends to use the blood that is collected from you and to be assured that donations are used for their intended purposes.

Complaints: You have a right to file a complaint with the Quality department if you have a complaint or concern with regard to donor safety or quality.

Donor’s Responsibilities

Consideration and Respect: You are responsible for being considerate and respectful of other donors and SANBS staff by maintaining civil language and conduct in your interactions at all times. The SANBS does not tolerate any form of abuse or harassment of other donors or staff at its collection sites.

Eligibility: You are responsible for providing accurate and complete information to SANBS regarding eligibility to donate blood.

Following Instructions: You are responsible for following post-collection instructions as given. Please ask questions or tell us if you do not understand the instructions and notify us about any changes in your condition after leaving the donation site.


June is officially National Blood Donor Month

Your blood saves lives.

Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks.

Every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system. This is the journey of 1 unit of donated blood.

There are many SANBS blood donation centres open to the public. To find the location nearest to you, click on our map. Or you may consider motivating your employer to host a blood drive at your offices for the convenience of all staff members.

Why donate blood?

Why should I donate?

Donating a unit of this “precious gift of life” saves lives of those in dire need of blood. One must develop a habit of donating blood in order for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to collect sufficient blood that will ensure that in cases of emergency quality blood is always available.

Your blood saves lives.

Thousands of patients would die daily if there is insufficient quality blood in stock. When one donates blood, they give patients the gift money cannot buy or science cannot create. A unit of blood can save up to three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

What is the significance of my blood group?

All donors belong to one of four blood groups: A, B, AB or O.  You are also classified as either Rh positive or Rh negative. There are therefore eight different main blood groups.

Not all blood groups are compatible with each other and the success of modern transfusion medicine depends on classifying and matching donors and patients correctly.

Group O blood is known as the universal blood type, as it can be given to patients of any blood group.

Do you know your blood group?  Do you know which blood group can give you blood?

Clinical services


Haemovigilance Reports

Haemovigilance is a surveillance system that focuses on improvement of processes and procedures and prevention of the recurrence of transfusion related reactions.

This is achieved by continuous collection and analysis of data on reactions related to the transfusion of blood products.

Haemovigilance is an integral part of providing a safe blood supply to all patients of South Africa.

It is important to note that Haemovigilance can only contribute if there is a comprehensive quality system in place, based on principles of current good manufacturing, Laboratory and Clinical (Hospital) practice.

 The success of the programme in contributing to safe blood supply depends on cooperation from all stakeholders and reporting of all possible transfusion reactions accurately and timeously.

The table below provides necessary Haemovigilance reports and an additional information leaflet on Haemovigilance.

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