oa South African Family Practice - Are there alternatives to the shortage of blood in South Africa? : editorial
From time to time, the South African National Blood Service disseminates messages that the country's blood stock levels are running very low. The average blood stock level varies from 4.6 days for group B to 10.7 days for group AB blood in non-emergency situations. However, with the December festive period approaching, these blood stock levels usually drop significantly as the demand for blood transfusion increases because of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, traumatic injuries and obstetric haemorrhage. The solution to blood shortage is not simple in South Africa as potential blood donors dwindle, safety fears increase with regard to contracting bloodborne infections and healthcare workers constantly deal with the ethical dilemma of Jehovah's Witnesses whose doctrine forbids them from accepting blood transfusions. Globally, the safety of blood transfusion has improved substantially since the 1980s, when human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was discovered to be blood transmissible. However, one of the biggest challenges to blood safety in sub-Saharan Africa is being able to access safe and adequate quantities of blood and blood products.
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