The Need to Live: Give Blood

‘Every Blood Donation is a Gift of Life’ was the theme of June 14, 2013- World Blood Donor Day. What does that really mean?

Blood; the source of life is needed by everyone. Patients who are scheduled for surgery, patients with cancer or leukemia, children with severe anemia, victims of accidents and women with hemorrhaging as a consequence of pregnancy all need blood.  The importance of giving blood is even more emphasized as Jamaica meets just over 50 per cent of the 60,000 units of blood it needs each year. Unnecessary transfusions and unsafe transfusion practices expose patients to the risk of serious adverse transfusion reactions and TTIs. Unnecessary transfusions also reduce the availability of blood products for patients who are in need. With 107 million blood donations per year world wide and 65% of blood transfusions in low-income countries are given to children under five years of age, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set 2020 as the target year for all countries to obtain 100% of blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors.

The World Blood Donor Day first established in 2004, is centered on awareness of the need for a constant, safe supply of blood and blood products. Collection of different blood types must surpass the usage of blood for everyone to be properly serviced. Surgical and medical care could be severely inhibited if blood donation is low. In fact, with the National Road Safety Council reporting 307 road crash fatalities in 2011 and 260 in 2012 in Jamaica , a large number of trauma- and accident-related injuries  increases the need for consistent supply of blood and plasma.  Donors who give blood on a regular basis are lauded as being courageous and heroes to those who are in dire need of blood.

Be a hero today. How can you be a hero?

Visit the National Blood Transfusion Service website for more information about the Eligibility, the process of giving blood, Partnerships, Distribution in Jamaica, Frequently Asked Questions and Collection Centres.