Call to give blood

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 14 June 2013

givingblood

There is concern by officials at the Blood Collection Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital that less than one per cent of the local population of Barbados regularly gives blood. Anderlene Sealy, who has been in charge of the unit for the last 12 years, says less than 200 people are consistent donors. Sealy said many of them are also still called upon to give blood in emergency situations, especially if there is a mass casualty event. The official noted that the Centre needs a minimum of 25 units of blood daily and along with whole blood donation there is also a need for plasma and platelet donation. Currently, most Barbadians only give blood if a relative or friend is pregnant, ill or if they were involved in an accident. Sealy said that during hectic times of the year like Crop Over and the holidays fewer people come to the centre, thus making the deficit even more glaring. Speaking ahead of World Blood Donor Day which is being recognised today under the theme Give the gift of life: donate blood, Sealy said the blood bank needs more deposits. “If something happens you see a lot of people coming to the unit, in one instance we had about 60 people respond to requests following a major accident,” she said. “But out of that number only 48 met the criteria for giving blood voluntarily. We really need more donors.” Donated blood goes through a rigorous screening process before it is available for transfusion; these include tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Currently, anyone who has a tattoo for under a year, has multiple sex partners, same sex partners, engages in anal sex or has Hepatitis B or C is not eligible to give blood. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) blood collection from voluntary non-remunerated blood donors is the cornerstone of a safe and sufficient blood supply. Their aim is that all countries obtain all their blood supplies from 100 per cent voluntary unpaid donors by 2020. The QEH’s Blood Collecting Centre is located next to the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic in Lady Meade Gardens. (PR)

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