The South African National Blood Service stock levels are currently at a critically low level, and the SANBS is calling on everyone to assist.
South Africa (06 June 2022) – More than 600 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Southern Africa answered the call to donate blood to help ease the national blood shortage.
Donations in some cities started as early as Wednesday, with many more churchgoers expressing their desire to help by donating much-needed blood.
According to Ravi Reddy, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) CEO, blood stock levels are currently at a critically low level due to the COVID-19 pandemic that limited access to regular blood drive venues.
“We are appealing to the public to please donate much-needed blood.”
In Gauteng, Mr Godfrey Pea, from the marketing department of the SANBS, said that less than 1% of the population donates blood.
“We need a whole lot more. Over 3,000 units a day, nationally.”
He emphasised the importance of having sufficient bloodstock, which is used for people in serious accidents, bleeding disorders, women who give birth and for many other diseases.
Other provinces of South Africa are experiencing a similar challenge. The shortage caused by the pandemic is said to be worsened by the recent floods, devastation and unrest in some provinces that made it difficult to maintain a steady blood collection and supply.
Neelashan Govender, a representative of the SANBS in the Durban area, remains hopeful the situation will get better. He lamented that the closure of schools (due to holidays) impacts blood stock volume as scholars typically donate in their numbers. Govender emphasised the importance of blood type O – as it can be used for all the other blood types.
With this cry for help, hundreds of members of Shincheonji churches from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and as far afield as Bafokeng decided to organise a national blood drive.
“The church desires to assist and alleviate this burden on the national and local blood services caused by the aftermath of the pandemic. We want to help the community and save lives in this time of shortage,” a spokesperson for the church said.
“I want to help by giving 30-minutes of my time to donate one unit of blood and hopefully save one or more lives. I am so excited that so many other members have also decided to do the same,” Cleo Solomons, a congregation member of Shincheonji Church, said.
Another churchgoer, Nolwazi Bengu, said, “Because our hearts are for helping people, we moved as fast as lightning to organise this blood drive throughout the country. This is the very least that we can do. Please be encouraged by this and take some time yourself to also come and donate your blood.
Mr Pea from the SANBS in Johannesburg stated that “one pint saves three lives” and thanked members of Shincheonji for organising such a large-scale blood drive.
“The blood that we collected here today goes a long way.”
He urged the public to also participate by visiting their nearest donation centre. To find your nearest donation centre, contact 0800 119 031 or visit www.sanbs.org.za.