The South Africa National Blood Service (SANBS) says for the first time in several years during this busy holiday time, KwaZulu-Natal has seven days of blood stocks.

SANBS in the province is calling on donors to remain committed to ensure optimum stock levels.

A KwaZulu-Natal blood donor, who has donated blood 54 times, is encouraging people who have never donated, to come forward to make a difference.

According to SANBS statistics, only 30% of the black population are active blood donors.

SANBS says it is working hard to encourage members from this community to donate blood.

Lamontville resident Nhlanhla Jiyane visited the uMlazi Donor Centre, one of the many sites for blood donation in the province.

“I will encourage people to come forward and donate because we save lives, especially during this festive time. That’s where people get injured and involved in accidents. So, the more we donate the more we save lives. Please come forward. Don’t be scared. It’s just a second. You won’t feel any pain. It’s just a prick of the needle and after that you’re done,” says Jiyane.

Jiyane was sadly among the few who stopped at the Umlazi activation point. Many shoppers simply passed by, not even taking the time to consider the option.

Lead Consultant for Medical Affairs at SANBS in the province, Doctor Solomuzi Ngcobo says this does not mean that people should stop donating.

“We are very grateful for our donors who have come forward to donate but at the same time we will urge our donors to continue donating blood so that we are able to maintain the levels,” says Ngcobo.

Ngcobo says from November 2018, SANBS increased its staffing capacity which has assisted in holding more blood drives at shopping centres.

Meanwhile, SANBS is especially calling on first-time donors and lapsed donors, who know that their blood type is Group O, which is the universal blood type and can be given to patients of any blood group.