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The Ministry of Health is urging persons to donate blood, as supplies are still at critically low levels.
This request has resulted from the ongoing operations being carried out by the security forces in west Kingston, and the flare-up of violence in a number of other communities.
“We are unable to process blood at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) and alternate arrangements have made with the University Hospital. There are 36 units of processed blood in stock. With the assistance of the security forces, we were able to retrieve 50 units of unprocessed blood at the blood bank as well as reagents for testing,” Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer explained at the post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, today (May 26).
Donations can be done at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston, and at the Port Antonio, St. Ann’s Bay, Cornwall Regional, May Pen, Mandeville, Falmouth, and Savanna-la-Mar Hospitals.
He said that with the NBTS on Slipe Pen Road remaining inaccessible, arrangements are also being made for donated blood to be centrally received at the National Chest Hospital from collection sites across the island.
“We will continue to monitor the reagent stock levels and will make contingency plans for engaging the private sector to assist,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Spencer said limited laboratory services are being offered at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) by staff from the national public health laboratory, and that blood samples were not being transported to the public health laboratory from the KPH and Victoria Jubilee Hospital, due to the violence associated with the operation being carried out in West Kingston by the Security Forces since Monday (May 24).
Turning to pharmaceutical and medical supplies, Mr. Spencer said the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is monitoring these, with the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) having initiated a system of borrowing stocks from other facilities, as well as purchasing, where necessary.
“Contact has been maintained with Health Corporation Limited and the security forces have been alerted to the fact that escort may be required from time to time to obtain supplies from Health Corporation,” he added.
The Health Minister noted that the closure of some pharmaceutical distributors poses a serious challenge.