Kwazulu-Natal is facing a critical shortage of blood.
With just under two days of stock left‚ the South African National Blood Service has made an urgent plea for donors to give blood.
In response to the call‚ Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo rolled up his sleeves to donate blood at a drive in Umlazi‚ south of Durban‚ on Thursday.
"We currently only have blood that is enough to last 1.3 days. People just do not donate. We are not quite sure why‚ and it has taken us by surprise‚" said Sifiso Khoza‚ SANBS spokesman.
Khoza stressed that the situation was "critical".
"We are appealing to residents of KwaZulu-Natal — active donors‚ potential donors and lapsed donors — to help to bolster the regional blood stock."
Although all blood types are needed‚ blood group O is in demand as it is universal.
People in urgent need of regular blood supply may include women giving birth‚ cancer patients‚ car crash victims and patients suffering complications during surgery.
Dhlomo said: "We are not meeting the required levels and that is extremely concerning. Every South African between the ages of 16 and 65 — who is in good health — is considered safe to come forward and assist us."
Regular blood donor Nozipho Cebekhulu‚ 25‚ from Umlazi‚ regards donating blood as giving a gift of life.
"If I can save or prolong another person’s life with my blood‚ I think that’s more than any gift that I can give a person‚" she said.