JIS News

The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) will raise awareness of the critical need for more Jamaicans to donate life-saving blood during World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

The day is being observed under the theme: ‘Give the Gift of Life: Donate Blood’.

“We hope, with our celebrations, we will encourage persons to become repeat voluntary blood donors and to also give thanks for those persons, who are already repeat voluntary donors,” said Director of the NBTS, Dr. Angela Scott.

She was addressing a JIS Think Tank on June 4 at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree Road offices in Kingston.

Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Representative in Jamaica, Margareta Sköld, who was also at the Think Tank, highlighted the importance of blood donations.

“People, who donate their blood, provide a unique contribution to health and to the lives of people because blood is the most valuable gift that anyone can offer another person because it is a gift of life. This is something we really want to bring home to people in that by giving blood, you are offering life to someone, who might be in danger of losing their life,” she stated.

She said persons should have no fear of losing blood when they donate as the body constantly re-generates the life-sustaining fluid.

Mrs. Sköld noted that blood transfusion agencies around the world are under continuous pressure to ensure that donated blood is safe for use and so a rigorous testing regime remains a critical part of their mandate.

“It’s a challenge and its one that the blood transfusion services of Jamaica lives up to and does very well,” she stated.

The PAHO/WHO Representative said the organisations are very happy and satisfied to give support to the various activities of the country, the Ministry of Health and the NBTS.

In 2013, support was given by PAHO for the publication of the Jamaica National Strategic Plan 2012–2017 for the NBTS, among other activities, that ensure proper standards in the blood transfusion service.

World Blood Donor Day activities will get underway at 8:00 a.m. with a parade, led by the Tivoli Marching Band, from Cross Roads to Emancipation Park in New Kingston, where an official opening ceremony will be held. The function will feature presentations from the NBTS; Director of PAHO,Dr. Carissa F. Etienne;and representatives of other organisations.

This will be followed by a blood drive in the park at 9:00 a.m., which will run concurrently with a similar drive at the Fontana Pharmacy in Montego Bay. The NBTS is looking to collect from at least 100 persons at each drive. RJR FM will broadcast live from Emancipation Park between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to encourage persons to visit the venue and donate blood.

Contact: O. Rodger Hutchinson/Jeneva Gordon