JIS News

The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is making an urgent appeal for blood donations to boost depleted supplies.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday, June 4, Director of the NBTS, Dr. Angela Scott, said that the service, although not at crisis level, is short of all blood types.

“As of yesterday (June 3) all groups were short. We have been emailing and calling donors to come in because we are short,” she stated.

[RELATED: NBTS to Include Children in Activities for World Blood Donor Day]

The universal donor type O-negative is particularly needed as it is critical for trauma patients, premature babies, and emergency situations.

Dr. Scott is encouraging persons to visit any of the collection centres across the island to make their donations.

The main collection centre at the NBTS, 21 Slipe Pen Road is open Monday to Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and on Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

There are also centres at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI); May Pen Hospital, Clarendon; Mandeville Hospital, Manchester; Port Antonio Hospital, Portland; Falmouth Hospital, Trelwany; St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, St. Ann; Cornwall Regional Hospital, Montego Bay; and at the Savanna-la-mar Hospital in Westmoreland.

“We are hoping that National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew will be up and running again soon to have somewhere open on Saturdays, where persons can donate blood on the weekend,” Dr. Scott said.

[RELATED: National Blood Transfusion Service Blood Collection Centres]

She told JIS News that the NBTS has been trying to make it more convenient for persons to donate blood and have arranged mobile drives in an effort to alleviate shortages.

These drives are held in collaboration with private and public institutions, Corporate Jamaica, and universities.

Dr. Scott noted that financial constraints have reduced the frequency of the blood drives as well as the service’s ability to place advertisements in the print and electronic media, and so “you will have to meet us half-way in terms of coming to the collection centres.”

Discussions at the Think Tank also focused on activities for World Blood Donor Day on June 14, which is to be held under the theme: ‘Give the Gift of life, Donate Blood’.

The observance seeks to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank donors.

Contact: E. Hartman Reckord