• Although 75% of the population in the Western Cape may require blood transfusions in their lifetime, a mere 1.5% are blood donors.
  • With a single donation you could save up to three lives.
  • Even tourists can donate blood, provided they meet our donor health criteria and haven’t visited a malaria area in the past month.
  • You can still donate blood if you’re over 65, as long as you’re healthy and we have your physician’s consent.
  • You need to weight at least 50kg to be eligible to become a blood donor.
  • Our donors complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire each time they give blood, so that we can maintain a safe blood supply.
  • You should always increase your intake of non-alcoholic fluids when giving blood, both before and afterwards.
  • You get a mini-medical each time you donate blood – we check your iron levels, blood pressure and pulse rate.
  • The amount of blood drawn during donation is just 475ml – not even half a litre!
  • You should avoid heavy exercise or lifting on the day of donation, and reduce regular exercise for a few days after.
  • After donation, your body replaces the plasma within 24 hours, and the red blood cells within three to four days.
  • You won’t be able to donate blood if you have any infection – even a cold.
  • South Africa is the only African country that tests every donation with specialised NAT testing, which shortens the HIV window period. 
  • The average adult carries between four and five litres of blood – that’s about ten units.
  • There is no known substitute for blood, and it cannot be replicated due to its complexity. 
  • Not all blood types are compatible. The most common blood type in South Africa is O+, and the rarest is AB-. 
  • Individuals with O+ and O- blood are known as "universal donors", as their blood can be given to any other ABO group.
  • Individuals with AB+ blood are known as "universal recipients", as they are able to receive any other ABO blood type.
  • All registered blood donors receive a Donor Card stipulating their blood type.
  • Each year, the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service collects more than 165 000 units of blood.
  • New and sterile equipment is used for each donation and is destroyed after use.
  • For the safety of recipients, every single donation is tested for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C.
  • All our safety protocols comply with recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • You will not be able to donate blood unless you have eaten a substantial meal three to four hours before donation.
  • The waiting period between whole blood donations is 56 days, which means that you can give blood every two months.
  • The entire donation process takes only 20 to 30 minutes, questionnaire and pre-examination included.
  • You are never left alone while donating blood – a nurse is always within earshot and able to see you.  
  • Although a few people feel light-headed after donating blood, most donors suffer no side-effects at all.
  • You can continue your normal activities straight after donating blood, although you should avoid heavy exercise or lifting.
  • If our safety tests show abnormalities in your blood, we will contact you with confidential results.