New African record set in blood collection

Hospital, radio station and community band together to impact 1 878 lives

Monday, December 9 2019

Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, East Coast Radio and the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) recently set an all African record when they teamed up and collected 626 pints of blood over 13 hours on 22 November 2019.

“Our intention was to collect 300 pints of blood, aiming to break our provincial record of 262 units which we achieved in September last year. However, we almost more than doubled last year’s record,” comments an elated Sara Nayager, general manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital.

“It was fantastic to partner with East Coast Radio on this worthy initiative. We wanted to encourage as many as possible staff members, visitors, businesses and members of the public to do their bit for our country and its people through donating blood. With East Coast Radio’s support, we were able to spread the message of our blood donation challenge to the public and businesses throughout KwaZulu-Natal before the event.

Pic: Everyone rallied behind the Netcare uMhlanga Hospital blood drive. Pictured soaking up the incredible atmosphere on the day were the hospital’s human resources team: Roxann Durgan, human resources assistant; Andiswa Ngwane, human resources clerk; and Asthera Kisten, human resources manager.

“One pint of blood can potentially save up to three lives, according to the International Red Cross. The blood drive at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital may therefore touch the lives of up to   1 878 individuals. Donating blood is a selfless act and what makes it even more special is the fact that you can do so much for so many people with such little effort.”

Nayager says in order to maintain and meet the demand of the thousands of patients in need of blood transfusions, SANBS needs to collect 3 000 units of blood per day nationally. “The only way we can successfully overcome the shortage is if we raise awareness and get more people to donate more frequently.”

Commenting on the blood drive, Belinda Lehnerdt, nursing services manager at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, who was also the organiser of the event, thanked everyone who participated. “It was such an incredible experience to be part of this initiative and to see how everyone rallied to make it happen.

Pic: Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, East Coast Radio and the communities of uMhlanga and surrounding areas recently banded together to impact 1 878 lives with blood donated at the hospital’s mammoth blood drive. From left to right were Sky Tshabalala, presenter of the East Coast Radio Breakfast show; Belinda Lehnerdt, nursing services manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, who also organised the event; and Darran Maule, presenter of the East Coast Radio Breakfast show. Darren was there to welcome the first donor at 07:00 and stayed the course until the very last person donated blood at 19:40.

“East Coast Radio did their breakfast show live from the medical centre, right next to the hospital. Radio presenters, Darren Maule, Kerri Miller and Sky Tshabalala joined us during the day with Darren being there when the first donor arrived at 07:00 as well as for the last donor at 19:40.

According to Lehnerdt, there was a great deal of logistics involved in the event, with 35 SANBS staff from all over KZN arriving to assist with the mammoth blood drive which was managed with the aid of six computers, four medical stations and 20 beds for the donors.

“Netcare 911, the Netcare Transplant Division, Hero777, the Organ Donor Foundation, The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Netcare uMhlanga Hospital pharmacy, our infection prevention department, as well as three pathology laboratories, joined in our blood drive.

“There was an incredible atmosphere on the day with much to see and to do. We laid on everything from talks, exhibitions, face-painting and refreshments to educational sessions by the NSRI, and CPR demonstrations and a mock extrication demonstration by Netcare 911, during which  East Coast Radio presenter, Kerry Miller was ‘freed’ from a wrecked vehicle and ‘airlifted’ by aeromedical helicopter. We hope that the exhibitions, talks and interactive, educational displays inspired all who attended to think safety first this holiday season – and beyond.

Pic: During the recent blood drive at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, East Coast Radio did their breakfast show live from the medical centre, right next to the hospital. Seen giving the gift of life is Darren Maule, presenter of the East Coast Radio Breakfast show while Belinda Lehnerdt, nursing services manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, lends a helping hand and some moral support

“By 13:00 we had already reached our target of 300 pints of blood and had run out of food but that did not stop us from carrying on all out as the people who came to donate blood were so enthusiastic. We went on all afternoon with a lucky draw while radio presenter, Darren Maule entertained and encouraged everyone.
“When you donate blood, you are giving the gift of life and there is no more profound way to express care for your fellow South Africans than by sharing your lifeblood and by keeping yourself healthy so that you can continue to donate blood.

Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, East Coast Radio and the SANBS would especially like to thank each person who took the time and effort to come out on the day to donate blood. Your blood donation could mean the difference between life and death for some person, and we commend you for your spirit of giving. We would like to encourage you to continue donating blood as this is very often in short supply. We urge you to contact the SANBS on 0800 119 031 to find out where the closest blood donation point is to you,” concludes Lehnerdt.

Criteria for first-time donor to donate blood:

  • Must be between the ages of 16 and 65
  • Must have a body mass of at least 50kg
  • Must adhere to safe sexual practises
  • Must be free of diseases such as HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C.

By law, you may only donate every 56 days. This is done to ensure that a donor’s red blood cells have enough time to regenerate. You are allowed to donate about 480 ml of blood at a time.

Donors should eat a small snack within four hours before donating blood, as this can help to offset the chance of feeling faint or light-headed afterwards.


Issued by:           MNA on behalf of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:                   [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or  [email protected]