JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is reporting that 130 units of blood were collected at its blood drive and wellness fair on Saturday, June 14.
  • The fair, dubbed
  • The aim of ‘DonorFest’ was to highlight the importance of providing expectant mothers with timely access to safe blood and blood products to prevent maternal deaths.

The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is reporting that 130 units of blood were collected at its blood drive and wellness fair on Saturday, June 14, at the Kiwanis Blood Collection Centre, at the National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew.

The fair, dubbed “DonorFest”, was held in recognition of World Blood Donor Day (WBDD), observed this year under the theme ‘Safe Blood for Saving Mothers.’

Acting Director of the NBTS, Dr. Veronica Taylor–Porter, said the aim of ‘DonorFest’ was to highlight the importance of providing expectant mothers with timely access to safe blood and blood products to prevent maternal deaths.

“This is geared towards decreasing maternal and infant mortality rates and we want to draw the attention of the entire country to the fact that regular voluntary blood donation provides critical support to new mothers and their babies,” she told JIS News.

Dr. Taylor-Porter noted that when one unit of blood is donated, three lives are saved, and the centre is therefore happy for the donation.

She stressed the importance of having a healthy lifestyle in order to become an eligible blood donor, noting that in the past there was a high number of willing donors who had to be deferred due to low blood count.

The National Blood Transfusion Service Director said that she was encouraged by the fact that 130 units of blood were collected from 149 registered donors.  This shows a deferral rate of 13 per cent, which is below the national average of 30 percent, she said.

Dr. Taylor-Porter noted that the rate compared favourably with the 34 per cent deferral at the 2013 WBDD collection where 123 units were collected from 186 registered donors.

“This improvement in the deferral rate may be due to different factors, such as more persons focusing on healthier lifestyles; the appeal for blood donors reaching a segment of the population that was more committed to healthy living; and more people responding to the Ministry of Health’s ongoing focus on reducing lifestyle illnesses,” she explained.

To prepare adequately for donation and to reduce the possibility of deferral, Dr. Taylor-Porter is encouraging persons to become familiar with the eligibility requirements which include increasing their intake of iron-rich foods and Vitamin C.

The Wellness Fair featured information booths and talks from entities within the health fraternity. To facilitate parents and caregivers, a Kiddies’ Village was also set up.

The event was co-sponsored by South-East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) along with private sector interests.