Aug 03, 2009 News Comments Off on Blood donation initiative to be introduced in schools next month
If you give once, you will be inclined to give again, said Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, recently as he appealed to persons to donate blood to boost the buffer stock at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS).
According to him, records at the blood bank show that most persons after giving blood once become regular donors.
However, over the past several weeks, the visits of voluntary donors to the NBTS have been significantly reduced, thus, creating a crucial need for blood required for use by both the public and private hospitals, Dr Ramsammy disclosed.
He pointed to the fact that although just about 100 percent of the population may need blood at some time, currently there is a mere half percent of the population donating the life saving substance.
As such, the Minister noted that there is need for more persons to donate in order to keep the blood bank’s programme going.
“We are not asking that every citizen give blood. I wish at this stage of my life I can be a regular donor but I am told that I can’t because I have had heart surgery,” Dr Ramsammy disclosed.
And there may be many people who are unable to give blood as well, he noted, even as he highlighted that they are in no way exempted from the process.
In fact, he revealed that each person has a role to work with others who can donate blood by being advocates of the blood programme or recruiters on behalf of the NBTS.
In order to ensure that persons become more aware of the importance of giving blood, the Minister divulged that a programme will be introduced in schools when the new school year commences next month.
This move, he said will be characteristic of posters and pamphlets being distributed to schools which will enable teachers to enlighten their students about the criteria for giving blood.
“We expect that on the day that classes in Guyana start in September, each school will have these materials so that before the children become adults they know how to give blood,” said an optimistic Dr Ramsammy.
Early last year the blood bank had tried to maintain a buffer stock of 120 units of blood which was enough at the time to respond to the daily needs and for emergencies as well.
The buffer stock quota was subsequently increased to 170 units, according to the Minister. He noted though that given the workload at both the public and private hospitals, it is likely that the Blood Bank will further increase the units stored to a possible 200 units.
As such, he lamented the fact that at the beginning of last week, the buffer stock level was a mere 48 units of blood. However, with the response from members of the public, the Minister disclosed that the level has since improved slightly.
“We are going to have a number of the units we have in stock given out to hospitals and therefore it’s going to remain at about a quarter of what we need. That is really risky because if we have an emergency it would mean that we would not have and we would have to depend on the family donors and we don’t want to go back to that.”
As such, he noted that he will target public leaders in the society and business leaders among others to help lead the process of voluntary blood donation even as he mused at the fact that blood is not a commodity that could be purchased.
Currently, only about .5 percent of the adult population of Guyana have donated blood as regular donors or as family replacement donors. There is therefore a need, the Minister said for that percentage to be upped to about 1 to 1.5 percent.
“My call is simple, anybody who is a regular donor, this is a good time to donate. And those people who have never donated blood, this is a very good time for you to become a regular donor,” urged Dr Ramsammy.
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