THE National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is encouraging more Jamaicans to ramp up their efforts in donating blood to help save lives.
Assistant blood donor organiser at NBTS Keishawna Pinnock told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that the call is necessary even as blood drives decreased in 2020 but improved in 2021.
“We have seen a marked increase in blood collections since the COVID-19 [novel coronavirus] pandemic. The year 2020 was not so great but for 2021, we saw an increase. We had an additional 20 blood drives. Once we did our promotions and sensitised, persons just started out fearful, but things are going back to normal,” she said.
Pinnock said there is still a bit of hesitancy around blood donations due to COVID-19 and vaccines, but mentioned that the NBTS has been pushing its sensitisation efforts for potential blood donors.
“When it comes to the vaccines, you can immediately donate and if you did however catch the virus, you have to wait a month. For us on the inside, we have to make sure safety is 100 per cent. It has always been that way but it’s amplified now just because of the virus, so we are testing, taking temperatures, sanitising at each step of the process. We try to make sure we have all safety controls observed,” she said.
During her presentation at the Road Safety Awareness Month launch held at Future Energy Source Company Limited (Fesco), Beechwood Avenue in St Andrew on Wednesday, Pinnock stressed that the need for blood is constant.
“We urge individuals through public and private sector entities, to support the NBTS. We constantly need persons to support us by going to blood bank, offering at blood drives,” she said.
“We are part of a major community that speaks to live saving and we need a proactive nation, to ensure that the consistent and adequate supply of safe blood is on hand at all times. Blood donation is important, it is essential, it saves lives. Safe driving and exercising safe practice on the road, saves lives,” she added.
Pinnock pointed out that 60,000 units of blood are needed annually, but NBTS collects just over 35,000 units each year.