JIS News

As part of its preparations for the festive season, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) will host the ‘Gift of Life Christmas Blood Collection Drive’ this Saturday, December 9, on the North lawn of Devon House from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
This is a new approach for the blood bank, which has always had a difficulty maintaining adequate supplies around the festive season, when there is usually an increase in the number of traffic accidents, among other types of situations that create added pressure on their supplies.
Sandra Brown-Thomas, Communications Co-ordinator at the NBTS told JIS News that expectations were high concerning the drive, as the goal was to collect at least 200 units of blood.
“We are anticipating a huge turn out, given the fact that persons are aware of the challenge that we face, especially during Christmas. We hope they will be moved to spare a thought for those persons, who will need blood at this time of the year for whatever reason,” she said.
“It will also be in the spirit of the season, a worthwhile thing for persons to do during the season,” Mrs. Brown-Thomas added.
The atmosphere at the Blood drive will be very festive as Mrs. Brown-Thomas informed that there would be music to “create the right vibe” in addition to, entertainment for children.
“We will even have a bounce-a-bout to try to create a different atmosphere, so that even if you bring your children along, they will be entertained, while you go through the process of donating blood,” she noted.
Sponsors, such as Lucozade and Homestyle Juices, will also be on hand to offer products and samples, along with other support agencies such as the HEART Foundation of Jamaica.
However, the biggest highlight for the day is the appearance of the very popular Miss Jamaica World 2006 and Miss World Caribbean, Sara Lawrence who, with a team of models from Spartan Elite Models, will take part in a fashion show, co-ordinated by Joan McDonald, a former Miss Jamaica World. “They are really in support of our cause,” Mrs. Brown-Thomas said. The show is expected to begin at 3:00 p.m.
In the meantime, addressing the matter of blood collection during the current outbreak of malaria, Mrs. Brown-Thomas said the screening process would be further “tightened up”, even though screening is a normal part of the process when donating blood.
“This is in terms of looking for persons having fever and flu-like symptoms and checking into their history, when interviewing them and so on. In a suspected case, we would not necessarily take the blood from you. We would probably take a sample so that, it can be tested to see if you have been infected with malaria,” she pointed out.
She also stressed that donated blood would be rigorously screened before being used in transfusions.