Blood Bank targets tertiary institutions to ease shortage
The National Blood Transfusion Service (Blood Bank) is embarking on an intensive blood collection campaign, targeting schools and community colleges in an effort to alleviate recurring blood shortages which have a direct impact on medical and surgical care.
While blood collection in 2013 surpassed the targeted 30,000 units, the country has been struggling for years with blood shortage. According to Igol Allen, blood donor organiser, so far they have inked a partnership with the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust/ National Training Agency and are in the process of getting all community colleges and other tertiary institutions in the island on board.
"So far, we have established contact with the University of Technology, the University of the West Indies, Northern Caribbean University, Brown's Town, and Moneague and Montego Bay community colleges. We also have an arrangement with The Mico University College and Shortwood Teachers' College. We are still trying to get into the others," Allen said.
According to Allen, this target group once they start donating, become donors for life. "They develop a habit for life. We are trying to develop these public-and private-sector partnerships to get these persons to support the health sector. Blood is an essential medicine and it is important that persons begin to support this aspect of the health sector," he said.
Persons giving blood, he said, must be in good health and lead a healthy lifestyle, be between the ages of 17-65 years, and must weigh more than 110lbs.
Allen said persons who indulge in certain high-risk lifestyles are not eligible to donate blood. These include homosexuals (male and female), prostitutes (male and female), bi-sexual men, intravenous drug users, persons indulging in anal sex, any sexual partner of any of the high-risk groups, HIV-positive persons, promiscuous individuals and anyone who have had tattoos less than 12 months ago.
Allen spoke with The Gleaner following the successful staging of its annual Blood Drive when more than 70 units of blood were collected.
Fly Jamaica Airways were among the main sponsors along with Digicel, Derrimon Trading, Sagicor Insurance, Cardiotechnics, Oxford Medical Centre, The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Totally Male, Sampar's Cash and Carry, Triple Century Sports Bar, Spa Aesthetique, Gas Pro, Creation Foods, Salon Avonda and, Usain Bolt Tracks and Records. Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, Island Products, Jewel Resorts, Eaton's, Gray's Pepper Products, Lifespan Water, Vantage One Group, Super Touch Salon and Massy Distribution were also sponsors.