This year, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) celebrates 21 years in operation. Formed in 2001 after the merger of seven Regional Blood Services, the blood service provider collects blood to ensure a safe and sufficient supply for the country’s health care system, with the exception of the Western Cape province which has its own Blood Service.
“As we reflect on the past 21 years we are proud of the progress we have made in being an innovative and reliable health service provider, rated amongst the best in the world in the provision of blood and blood products,” said Ravi Reddy, CEO of SANBS.
“This would not be possible without our hardworking employees, valued donors, suppliers, partner organisations and stakeholders for whom we are most grateful”
Since inception, SANBS has provided an essential service within South Africa and supported other blood services providers on the African continent. Blood donations enable life-saving medical treatment for children with life threatening anaemia, trauma victims, women with pregnancy related complications, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, complicated surgical procedures and cancer treatments.
Reddy said the organisation would continue working closely with the Department of Health to expand healthcare services to reach all South Africans even in the remotest of communities.
SANBS has 75 collection sites supported by over 2,500 dedicated staff members to meet the needs of an ever-growing South African population, burdened with disease. Mobile blood drives supplement collection capacity.
SANBS Key Milestones and Lifesaving Innovation
SANBS has achieved many life-changing milestones since the amalgamation in 2001, including:
- The introduction of Individual Donation Nucleic Acid Testing (ID-NAT), a sensitive testing technology that detects HIV, HBV and HCV early in infected donors and ensures the safety of the country’s blood supply.
- The roll out of emergency blood fridges to support the Save mother, save baby initiative which has helped SANBS to reach obstetric haemorrhage patients nationally.
- Launch of the award-winning Project BloodWing, a drone delivery service (which was presented as one of SANBS’ flagship innovations), which speeds up blood delivery to remote and hard to reach areas.
- In collaboration with research partners, SANBS ran a ground-breaking Convalescent Plasma Clinical Trial, in real time, for the treatment of Covid-19 patients locally.
- #Ironstrong is a programme involving Ferritin testing for whole blood donors to assist in the monitoring of individual donor iron stores, then offering iron tablets to those who need to replenish.
“I invite new donors and urge all those who are in good health to gift us with 20 minutes of their time and donate blood to help us to continue saving lives.” Reddy added.
Celebrating 21 Years of SANBS: Facts and Stats