Jamaicans are being encouraged to take advantage of upcoming opportunities to donate blood and its byproducts to boost the country’s reserves, especially during the festive season.
Igol Allen, blood donor organiser at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), stressed that while blood donations have improved over the previous year, the country’s blood supply is still not at a satisfactory level.
“We are currently only meeting about 50 per cent of the demand for blood and its byproducts per annum and we need more blood if we are to save more lives,” he said.
He also highlighted that donating blood helps individuals to continuously screen their health and replenish their blood supply.
To ramp up blood donations this Christmas, the NBTS will be joining the Rotaract Club of Kingston (RCOK) and the JN Sports and Social Club (JNSCC) for a blood drive on December 9, on the grounds of the JN Bank chief office in Half-Way Tree, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Our trained personnel will be there to help all the donors that come out on that day so that we may donate in an environment that is safe and conducive to blood donation,” Allen added.
Similarly, Natasha Burnett, president of the RCOK, said the Christmas blood drive is a staple project of the organisation and the goal this year is to exceed last year’s quantity.
“Last year, we reached our highest figure in terms of donations. We had 33 units of blood being donated, equivalent to 100 lives being saved and we realise the impact this can have. These donations take the pressure off the health system and actually benefit many people,” Burnett said.
According to the NBTS, blood donors must be in good health, be within the ages 17 to 60 years, and must weigh more than 110 pounds.