Blood Donations Still Not Where It Can Be – NBTS

    JN Group

    Photo Caption: Jamar Howell, chairman of the JN Sports and Social Club and Toni Moy Stewart, immediate past president of the Rotaract Club of Kingston (RCOK) spoke with rotaractor, Shari Watson (seated), as she prepared to donate blood at the 2022 staging of the RCOK’s Christmas Blood Drive, held at the JN Bank Chief Office in Half Way Tree.

    With the festive season usually being a difficult time to maintain blood stocks, people are being urged to take advantage of upcoming opportunities to donate blood and its byproducts to boost the country’s reserves.

    Igol Allen, blood donor organiser at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) said at this time of year, there is normally a greater need for blood, due to an increase in motor vehicle crashes and other incidents. The number of donors also tends to decline as more people prioritise other things, such as travelling for their vacations.

    Mr Allen said although donations have improved when compared with previous years, the country’s blood supply is still not where it can be.

    “We are currently only meeting about 50 per cent of the demand for blood and its byproducts per annum and we need more blood if we are to save more lives,” he said while reiterating some of the health benefits for donating blood to help those in need of transfusion.

    Natasha Burnett, the current president of the Rotaract Club of Kingston (RCOK), at the 2022 staging of the RCOK’s Christmas Blood Drive, held at the JN Bank Chief Office in Half Way Tree.

    “What blood donation does is help people to continuously screen their health and replenish their own blood supplies. Studies also show that blood donors tend to live healthier and longer lives,” he shared.

    The NBTS is one of several partners who will be joining the Rotaract Club of Kingston (RCOK) and the JN Sports and Social Club (JNSCC) for a Christmas Blood Drive on December 9, on the grounds of the JN Bank Chief Office, Half Way Tree, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mr Allen said persons should make use of the chance to give blood as a gift this season.

    “Our trained personnel will be there to help all the donors that come out on that day so that we may donate in an environment that is safe and conducive to blood donation,” he said.

    Natasha Burnett, president of the RCOK said the Christmas blood drive has become a staple project of the organisation and the goal this year will be to exceed last year’s numbers. She said the club continues to organise the event to not only support the country’s blood reserves but also raise awareness on the importance of giving blood.

    “Last year we reached our highest figure in terms of donations. We had 33 units of blood being donated, equivalent to 100 lives being saved, and we realise the impact this can have. These donations take the pressure off the health system and actually benefit many people,” she emphasised.

    Donated blood and its byproducts are used to treat myriad medical conditions, including cancer, anaemia and blood disorders. According to the NBTS, anyone from age 16 up to 65 can donate blood, once they are in good health and just about 450 milliliters of blood is donated. That’s less than ten per cent of the blood in the human body.

    “A lot of persons still don’t know they can donate blood and that the entire process is very easy,” President Burnett expressed. She explained that persons who turn up for the RCOK’s blood drive will be sent to an information desk to capture their basic information, then directed inside an air-conditioned room for screening by the health professionals from the NBTS. Those fit to donate will be given the opportunity to do so.

    She added that donors will be eligible for a 10 per cent discount on a meal from the popular eatery Chilitos, and a 10 per cent discount on teeth cleaning from Melmac Dental Care. Other sponsors are also onboard to provide donors with refreshments before and after donating.

    Michelle Webster Gauntlett, vice chairman of the JN Sports and Social Club said they are pleased to again partner with the RCOK for the drive, noting that JN understands the need for this type of initiative in the country.

    She said the club has also been working with the JN Group’s People and Culture team to encourage staff members to support the drive.

    “Some of us have never done anything like this before and we just want persons that know that this is a worthy cause. We never know who our donations might benefit and the life you save might just be your own,” she stressed.

    In addition to donating blood, participants will be able to interact with the event’s sponsors and JN Group subsidiaries: JN Bank, JN General Insurance and JN Life Insurance, who will all have booths at the location. There will also be a live radio broadcast from the event.

    “A good experience is promised, and persons will be catered to from they arrive until they depart. Have a healthy and solid meal at least an hour before arriving to donate and keep yourself hydrated before and after,” advised the RCOK president, Natasha Burnett.

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