Safe blood is what it’s all about. And not just for recipients, but for donors too. We follow strict safety and hygiene protocols to the tee, and promote general health through the testing of donor blood.
Donors are carefully questioned about their health and lifestyle to determine whether they are able to donate. We make sure all donors are healthy enough to withstand the rapid withdrawal of 10% of their blood volume without causing any problems, and that their blood will not present any risks to prospective recipients.
How we deal with the risk of HIV infection
New and sterile equipment is used for each donation and is destroyed after use, so there is absolutely no risk of contracting viruses while donating. For the safety of recipients, every single donation is tested for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C. Due to the HIV window period, donors are also questioned about their lifestyles and deferred should any risks present themselves.
Testing and release of blood products
All results must be negative for a unit of blood to be labelled and released. Blood that tests positive for any of the indicators is quarantined, removed and incinerated. Further tests are performed to confirm positive results, and donors with confirmed results are contacted confidentially and referred for medical attention and counselling.
Other ways in which we ensure the safety of the blood supply
- We maintain a voluntary donor base, which has proved to be the safest source of blood.
- We educate prospective donors through presentations and literature handouts.
- Only licensed and approved tests are used for initial screening and confirmatory testing of repeatedly reactive samples.
- Some plasma-derived products are subjected to a sterilisation procedure.
All our safety protocols comply with recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO). We also follow measures and programmes that form part of the Standards and Principles of Transfusion practice in South Africa.