JIS News

A Schools Blood Drive Competition was officially launched yesterday (Feb. 11) at the Ministry of Health and Environment, King Street, downtown Kingston.
The competition is aimed at the development of a culture of voluntary blood donation, by promoting the practice among young people, and is open to all schools in Jamaica.
The theme is, ‘Students Save Lives Too…As Voluntary Blood Donors.’ It will involve the Ministry, in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS), the National Commercial Bank (NCB), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.
Speaking at the launch, Director of the NBTS, Dr. Evadne Williams, said that targeting children is a strategy which should develop a habit of voluntarily donation.
“We hope that by doing so, as they grow up into the habit, they will influence their peers into doing likewise, [which will create] a domino effect and grow our donor pool,” she said.
She pointed out that the strategy has been successful in other countries.
“As we embark on our drive with young persons, we hope that they will act as exemplars. Not only to their peers, but also to other members of the society and help us at the NBTS to grow our voluntary donor pool, [and] build our supplies,” she said.
PAHO’s Country Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Ernest Pate, pointed out that while the quantity of blood collected in Jamaica is very low, the quality is excellent. He also commended the collaborative efforts of the stakeholders in the process.
“I think it is a very good initiative that is being launched today, because we need to involve young people in understanding what contribution they are making when they donate blood,” he said.
General guidelines for the competition are: donors must be 17 years and over (teachers, parents/guardians of students can also participate); entries must be acknowledged by a confirmatory letter from the NBTS; participating schools should identify a liaison person, who may be either a teacher or student leader.
In addition, all participating schools should select a date for a Blood Bank representative to do a promotional talk to sensitise the prospective donors. In the event of a tie, the tie-breaker will be a second blood drive.
A representative from each participating school should attend the ceremony, whether they have won the award or not.

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