KINGSTON — The services provided by the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) have been significantly enhanced with the launch of the agency’s website.
The facility, which was developed by Chrysalis Communications, was launched during a ceremony at the Ministry of Health’s King Street offices downtown Kingston on Tuesday (June 14), which was observed globally as World Blood Donor Day.
Managing Director of Chrysalis Communications, Christopher Mills, informed that the website is a gift to the NBTS, at the request of his late father, Kenneth Mills, Jr., who has benefitted from the services of the blood bank during a period of illness before he passed on.
He said that the user-friendly site provides, inter alia, data on the blood donation process; blood types and stock levels; location and business hours of collection centres; scheduled blood collection drives; and an integrated social media facility incorporating Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, he said the site features written and audio testimonials from NBTS beneficiaries, and has a space for videos, which can host commercials, and other similar productions.
Mr. Mills said one of the website’s unique features is that it informs users and listed donors, via e-mail or any of the other messaging channels, when the stock levels of any of the blood types need to be replenished. Additionally, it advises persons when they become eligible to give blood again, from the time of the last donation. “So, what this site is supposed to do is not just inform the public, but, hopefully, generate (a) kind of re-donation spur…reminding everybody to go and donate again,” he said.
He pointed out, however, that the site will not store any sensitive donor medical data, assuring that “all we have the website storing is the quantity of blood that has been collected, tested, approved, and is in stock”.
Additionally, Mr. Mills said the website, which will be managed by NBTS personnel, with support from Chrysalis where necessary, is being hosted overseas to safeguard its framework against damage from any eventuality, such as an earthquake. He cited the case of Haiti, which suffered significant dislocation of its technology infrastructure as result of the earthquake last January.
He also announced that Chrysalis Communications will pay the hosting cost over the next year, “and we will also support it, by way of maintenance”.
In her remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jean Dixon, expressed gratitude to Chrysalis for creating the website as well as their commitment to the NBTS’ efforts.
“We thank you for your generosity of spirit and for furthering the cause of the blood bank to shore up its blood resources. This website is just another avenue through which we can reach the population, especially young people. This website really means a tremendous shot in the arm for us,” she said.
The NBTS advises that approximately 50,000 units of blood are required to fill the nation’s needs, annually. Modernisation Manager, National Laboratory Services, NBTS, Dr. Lundie Richards, informed that of this number, the agency was able to collect approximately 28,000 units last year. He pointed out that up to May 31, the intake stood at some 12,000 units.
“Through the new package…we hope that this (website) will catapult (our efforts) towards getting even more than 28,000 units,” Dr. Richards said. The website can be viewed at: www.nbts.gov.jm.
World Blood Donor Day was observed locally under the theme: ‘More Blood Donors, More Healthy Lives’. The significant activity for the day was a march from the NBTS on Slipe Pen Road to the Ministry, where a blood collection drive was held.
The NBTS is responsible for the provision of all blood and blood products to hospitals throughout the island.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter