State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, is appealing for public support of the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS), through the donation of blood and blood products to increase supplies at the entity.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a blood drive, held on Friday (November 6) at Pan Jam Investment Limited courtyard in Kingston, Mrs. Cuthbert Flynn said the donation of blood is especially important at this time as the country faces the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, dengue and flu seasons.
She emphasised that the NBTS is depending on donor assistance to provide blood and blood products to patients.
“The transfusion of blood and blood products has saved thousands of lives in Jamaica and every donation helps to save three lives. Although persons may be afraid to make donations in this COVID-19 pandemic, donors should be encouraged and assured that the necessary safety protocols are in place at blood collection centres. Jamaica needs enough for everyone that has a need,” the State Minister said.
“This is an opportune time for all of us to consider our family, friends and communities to make a concerted effort to donate and help to save lives,” she added.
Meanwhile, Acting Director of the NBTS, Dr. Alisha Tucker, told JIS News the blood and blood product stores at the Service are at “critically low levels”.
“In Jamaica where we have both COVID-19 and dengue fever patients who are severely ill and require blood product support and dengue fever patients also requiring platelet transfusion, it is a critical time in Jamaica. We need donors to come out daily to supply the needs of patients throughout Jamaica,” she said.
Dr. Tucker pointed out that the NBTS was seeking to collect 20 units from the blood drive.
“If we are able to collect at least 20 units of blood today, then one unit donated by one person can save up to three lives. With the 20 units there is the potential to make packed blood cells, fresh frozen plasma and platelets from one donation. That would equate to 60 lives saved,” she explained.
For her part, Branch Manager, Jamaica, Massy United Insurance Limited, Winsome Gibbs said: “We see that this is a need in the country and as a corporate citizen, we decided that this is something that we want to be part of.”
“Our mantra is to support health and education in Jamaica and we want to ensure that we play our part in healthcare as much as we can,” she added.
The blood drive was organised by the NBTS, in partnership with Massy United Insurance Limited.