Our Social and Relationship Capital

First and foremost, we are a non-profit organisation that provides the delivery of safe blood to the patients we serve. SANBS’ social capital is the foundation upon which our life-saving mission of providing crucial blood products and services to those in need, is built. By nurturing trust, and upholding relationships, we remain steadfast in our pursuit to positively impact lives.

Our Social Capital - contributing to a sustainable future

Social capital is the cornerstone for enabling collaboration, mobilising vital resources, raising awareness, and fostering a positive societal impact through our mission of providing reliable blood products and services to patients in need.

Social capital lies at the heart of SANBS, embodying the value and strength of the connections, trust, and relationships cultivated with our diverse stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, partners, communities, and the wider public.

Ultimately it is about people who make the difference. Therefore, we establish and nurture relationships founded on trust across all our stakeholders, most significantly our donor and patient communities. We pride ourselves on providing the same level of care, irrespective of whether recipients are from the private or the public sector.

We care about the health of our donors and we have taken proactive steps to safeguard their well-being through the Iron management programme, particularly for those with low ferritin levels. Engaging with communities on multiple fronts serves to heighten awareness and broaden the donor pool. Our outreach extends to educational tours, welcoming schools and universities to our Mount Edgecombe facility, with the aim of inspiring the younger generation to embrace blood donation.

We are also dedicated to those in need of blood products, from new mothers during childbirth to accident victims and ICU patients. This commitment is demonstrated by the introduction of our first smart fridge, a strategic innovation aimed at reducing turnaround times for blood supply to regions where maternal mortality rates are particularly high.

SANBS is committed to supporting the following sustainable development goals (SDGs) through execution of our strategic priorities. These are global goals agreed with respect to economic, environmental and social goals.

Increased life expectancy, access to health services

  • SANBS aims to be the cornerstone of healthcare services in South Africa, through the gift of life
    • We realise the critical role we play in sustaining a healthy society and health system
    • To ensure equitable access for all citizens we operate 2 testing laboratories (Constantia Kloof and Mount Edgecombe), 83 blood banks, 71 donation centres, 7 processing centres and 25 mobile donor vehicles (which have 58 beds)
  • Health lifestyle education and awareness
    • SANBS does not only collect blood, but also educates donors on a healthy lifestyle, creates awareness about diseases - forging a relationship based on reputation, care and trust. See Intellectual and Manufactured Capitals.

Promoting learning opportunities for employees and others to remain relevant in the future

Continuous development of our own employees
  • SANBS invests in the continuous development of its people which includes a formal learning academy to create employees “fit for the future” as well as providing study assistance for external studies.
Knowledge dissemination
  • SANBS optimises organisational appropriate knowledge dissemination through collaborations, continuing professional development (CPD) accredited educational events, and the development of innovative solutions, eg, the learning experience portal for internal and external healthcare professionals (HCP).

    Training, Education and Advisory Services and PBM functions ensure that training for external HCP on various CPD-accredited transfusion medicine topics is planned and conducted. A total of 28 147 HCP were trained through 236 initiatives, using hybrid training platforms during the 2023 financial year
Bursaries for employee dependents
  • 40 SANBS employee dependents were offered bursaries to the value of R1,3m
Collaborations with universities
  • Formal collaborations with the University of Limpopo and the University of Free State resulted in the inclusion of transfusion medicine in the curriculum of third-year and fifth-year medical students
  • The fully-online short learning programmes for doctors in PBM developed in collaboration with the University of the Free State was launched in July 2023. The programmes for nurses and laboratory professionals are being concluded with the first intake expected in early 2024
  • Haematology and virology registrars at the Universities of Pretoria, KwaZulu Natal, and Witwatersrand are also taken through a rotation of SANBS departments to increase their knowledge and understanding of blood and blood products, as well as other additional services offered by SANBS
SANBS has concluded the following Memorandums of
Understanding (MoU) with Blood Services in the SADC region
  • Sidilega Private Hospital in Botswana - staff are being trained by the SANBS team on stem cell collection. The hospital personnel are now competent to collect stem cells from their patients, which are cryopreserved at SANBS facilities until required for re-infusion
  • Swaziland - for the training of the Eswatini blood transfusion collection and technical staff on quality processes. The gaps identified in their processes were discussed and measures are underway to assist them to close these
  • BloodSA
  • MoU being finalised for weekly educational events that provide knowledge improvements on various transfusion medicine CPD opportunities for local and internal HCP
  • Ghanaian blood service - training collaborations on apheresis platelets once the country starts apheresis platelet collections
  • Namibian - MoU underway for international webinars and training collaborations

See Intellectual and Human Capitals.

Empowering women and creating equal opportunities

  • Equitable reward and remuneration (race and gender parity)
    • Remuneration policies and practices are reviewed to ensure fairness and equality and most recently, gender neutrality is acknowledged
    • Female employees comprise 59% (FY22: 59%) of the workforce
    • Board composition = 58% (FY22:55%) female
    • Executive Committee composition = 50% (FY22: 50%) female

See Human Capital and Remuneration Report.

Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

  • Cultural and leadership initiatives
    • SANBS is committed to an environment conducive for our employees to thrive and perform. New employees are trained to operate seamlessly. Our cultural and leadership initiatives are bearing fruit and the business is on a sound footing financially with improved debt collection.
  • Learnerships for people with disabilities
    • To further embrace our diversity, we have 19 (FY22:17) young people with disabilities on a learnership in business administration and looking at how best they can be integrated into our business
    • See Human Capital
  • Work experience for qualification opportunities
    • As part of our community outreach, SANBS has contributed to the development of 14 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college interns, and 7 Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) interns, enrolled from January 2022. In addition to ensuring completion of the required work experience for their qualifications, SANBS further supplements their monthly stipend
    • See Intellectual Capital

Investment in research, development and innovation

  • SANBS is at the forefront of technology in the blood transfusion space
  • International collaboration for research in transmitted transfusion infections (HIV, HBV).
  • R80m alternate revenue generated against a target of R76m
  • Our first smart fridge was launched, aimed at reducing turnaround times for patients to receive blood in areas where there is a high mortality of mothers during childbirth
  • Successful launch of our SANBS RAD Academy to internal employees fostering a culture of ongoing learning and growth. SANBS employees authored/co-authored 14 scientific papers showcasing research done
  • See Intellectual Capital

Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

  • SANBS products and services meet the quality control requirements at regulatory bodies and national standards to meet internal and external customer requirements and ensure our blood products are safe
  • See Intellectual and Manufactured Capitals

*Note – see nautarl capital for details relating to SDG 12 and SDG13

SANBS have through efforts relating to corporate social responsibility events made a worthwhile contribution to SGD2

Employee participation in CSR events

  • Rise Against Hunger partnership
    • SANBS partnered with Rise Against Hunger, to participate in the 67 minutes Mandela Day challenge. Staff from Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Durban volunteered their time to prepare and pack a total of 39 312 meals

Reflecting the diversity of South African society in a workplace defined by our B-BBEE initiatives – measure our contribution to society

We contribute to the socio-economic development (SED) pillar of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) by hosting blood transfusion related training for HCP, donor education programmes for existing and potential blood donors as well as allocation of bursaries to dependents of SANBS employees.

Our contribution to the Enterprise Development (ED) and Supplier Development (SD) pillar of B-BBEE in the past financial year resulted in us achieving 18.16 points, falling short of the 20 points target. However, key contributors, for which 2 bonus points were received, were the success in at least one ED beneficiary graduating to supplier level and at least one job created as a direct result of ED and SD initiatives.