World Blood Donor Day – Be a real-life superhero


With this year’s theme being “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life”, there couldn’t be a better time to feel like Thor, Ironman and Captain America all rolled into one superhuman deed to help your fellow man or woman.

Not convinced?  Here are the facts by numbers:

1% - The percentage of the South African population who are blood donors

1 million – The number of units of blood South Africans need every year

3 000 – The number of units needed every single day

3 – The number of lives you save with every donation

56 – The number of days between each blood donation

35 – The average shelf-life of blood, which means the blood bank needs extra donors to make up the difference between the shelf-life of the blood and donor donation intervals

5 – The number of litres of blood the average person has in their body

500ml – The amount you donate with every donation

What blood type is most sought after?

While type O blood is fairly common it is also highly sought after as it can be given to any of the other blood groups. O Negative is particularly sought after as it is used in emergencies when there is no time to test the blood type of the patient.

Blood type Prevalence in South Africa

O positive/O negative: : 45%

A positive/A negative :  37%

B positive/B negative:  14%

AB positive/AB negative: 4%

Remember, if you have a more common blood type, that means that the chances of a patient needing your blood type are higher, so donate today.

Who can donate?

You can become a blood donor if:

  • You are between the ages of 16 and 65 years old, for first time donors.
  • You weigh a minimum of 50 kgs
  • You are in good health.
  • You lead a low risk lifestyle.
  • You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
  • You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
  • You have not donated blood in the last 56 days
  • Your pulse is between 50-100 regular beats per minute.
  • Your blood pressure is normal (this will be tested before you donate)
  • Your haemoglobin level is normal (this will be tested before you donate with a simple finger prick test)