Don’t wait, donate!

June 13, 2022

World Blood Donor Day is on Tuesday, 14 June and is a great reminder of the importance of donating blood regularly to help save lives. Pple Healthcare has long been a supporter of blood donation and we encourage our close on 900 staff, our clients and the general public to donate.

The World Health Organization (WHO) oversees blood donation efforts globally and the slogan for World Blood Donor Day 2022 is, “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives.” The youth are a big focus in this year’s campaign as WHO encourages young people to donate blood and be a part of ensuring a safe supply.

In South Africa, blood donation is managed by the SA National Blood Service (SANBS), which operates across South Africa, and the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS).

Be prepared

To prepare yourself to donate blood, eat and drink within 3 to 4 hours of the procedure. Before you donate you will need to fill in a confidential questionnaire, have your iron levels checked with a quick finger prick test, and have your blood pressure and pulse taken. If all are within healthy ranges, you will take a seat or recline and a sterile needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm. There is minimal discomfort, so don’t be afraid.

The collection of blood takes about 5 to 10 minutes and the whole donation experience takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Afterwards, drink lots of liquids, take it easy, avoid strenuous physical exercise, and do not smoke for at least half an hour. The good news – your body starts to replace the plasma or liquid part of the blood within 24 hours, red blood cells within 3 to 4 days, and iron within 6 to 8 weeks.

When can you not donate?

There are various times when you’re not allowed to donate blood. These include anyone who has been in contact with a person diagnosed with or suspected of having Covid-19, or if you have returned from international travel or visited a malaria area within the last 28 days. You can’t give blood if you are ill, being treated with certain medication (check with the sister on duty), had major surgery within the past 3 months or are due to have surgery within 6 weeks, are pregnant or have given birth within 3 months or breastfeeding, or weigh less than 50kg.

You also cannot give blood if within the past 3 months you have had sex with a new partner, more than one partner, with a partner whose sexual background is unknown to you, or if you have a sexually-transmitted disease.

Fast facts:

  • You can donate blood every 56 days (8 weeks)
  • Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors
  • A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation
  • Every unit (475ml) of blood can save at least 3 lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets
  • Whole blood is used in the case of severe blood loss or for exchange transfusion in infants
  • Blood types are A positive, A negative, B positive, B negative, AB positive, AB negative, O positive, and O negative, with O positive being the most common blood type, which can be given to patients of any blood group

Be a life saver and donate blood on World Blood Donor Day!

Sources include the SANBS, WCBS and WHO. For more information go to or