Photo Credit: South African National Blood Services

A Namibian mother-to-be with a rare blood type needed to undergo an emergency c-section; however, the rural hospital didn’t have her type on hand; SANBS stepped up to help.


Namibia (27 September 2022) – Earlier this month, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) played a vital role in the birth of a beautiful 3.7kg baby girl. Her mother, Helena Masene needed an emergency caesarean section, but due to her rare blood type, the surgery was a risk without a few units of blood on hand. The Namibian Blood Transfusion Service reached out to the SANBS for help.

The Namibian Blood Transfusion Service,(NamBTS) sent out an “SOS and the SANBS team started rallying donors to find enough of the rare blood type.

The team at the Reference Laboratory worked around the clock to ensure they found a donor for the rare blood type, processed the two units, and transported them more than 1000km to arrive in time for the emergency operation.

“Every life saved reinvigorates and strengthens our resolve to remain committed to our mandate of saving lives. We are indebted to the dedicated SANBS team who work tirelessly to assist patients like Helena and her baby to find a match and get the help timeously,” says Dr Ute Jentsch, SANBS Lead Consultant Pathology.

Helena Masene was able to safely deliver her healthy 3,7 kg baby girl, in a rural village in Namibia all thanks to the commitment of the SANBS and the generous donors who answered the call to donate blood.

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.

To become a blood donor, you must: 

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 75 years. 
  • Weigh 50kg or more.
  • Be in good health. 
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Consider your blood safe for transfusion to a patient.

To find out more about where you can donate blood, visit or call 0800 11 90 31. Connect with us on Twitter (@theSANBS), Facebook (@SANBS) and Instagram (@thesanbs).

Sources: SANBS
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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