Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Donate more blood

GRENADIANS and other residents of the English-speaking Caribbean are being urged to donate more blood.

According to the World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report on Blood Safety and Availability, low- to middle-income countries lagged considerably behind higher-income countries in meeting national goals for maintaining adequate stockpiles of blood and blood products.

For example, in 2010, territories of the English-speaking Caribbean combined reported collecting some 92 972 units of whole blood, which is about 12 units per 1 000 of population. This contrasted to the approximately 37 units per 1 000 usually collected by higher-income countries.

In its message to mark World Blood Donor Day, which was observed on Saturday, the Pan American Health Organisation and World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Office of Caribbean Programme Co-ordination had recommended that Caribbean countries observed the day by bolstering national efforts to achieve and maintain adequate stockpiles of blood and blood products.

Maternal deaths

“Best practice dictates that blood collection should be based on 100 per cent voluntary, freely donated blood, without offer of compensation. The rationale for this is to promote donation by persons who are motivated by a desire to help others, rather than by financial need, as this is likely to yield a donor pool which is at lower risk of infectious diseases,” the message stated.

The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2014 was “Safe Blood for Saving Mothers”. The main objective was to support blood donation on behalf of pregnant women as they prepare for delivery.

According to PAHO, about 800 women worldwide die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications including severe bleeding.

“Timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries as a component of comprehensive programmes to prevent maternal deaths,” the message stated.

World Blood Donor Day was designated an annual event by a resolution of the 58th World Health Assembly in 2005.

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