Health Ministry urges Guyanese to be voluntary givers

World Blood Donor Day

As Guyana joins the rest of the world in observance of World Blood Donor Day today under the theme “Blood Connects Us All”, the BloodMinistry of Public Health (MoPH) is challenging the public to work with the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) in achieving its vision of having 100 per cent voluntary blood donations by 2020.
While the day is set aside for raising awareness on the crucial importance of blood donation, as well as recognising voluntary donors for

Frank Anthony
Frank Anthony

their continued support, the Ministry along with NBTS is firm in their vision of ensuring blood is more freely donated.
With the figures for voluntary donation in Guyana rising from 25 per cent in 1990 to 90 per cent currently, this brings the country closer to its goal of having full support from the public in enhancing the health sector.
The ministry through the NBTS has recorded a total of 9698 units of blood donated annually as well as a number of blood drives conducted on a regular basis. The aim is, however, to have 10,000-12,000 units donated yearly since this is the average amount required for over 15,000 surgeries.
The accomplishment of this was credited to the competence of NBTS which has been the initiator of a number of projects over the past decade for promoting voluntary blood donation across Guyana.
The NBTS attested to this improvement as acting director of the organisation, Pedro Lewis, reported that there is a significant improvement in the number of voluntary donors who visit regularly to make donations to the bank.
In addition, he stated that a number of organisations have been working in close association with NBTS in organizing blood drives across the regions.
However, there remains a dire need for the continuation of this response as the blood bank is always in need in the case of emergencies.
Lewis explained that NBTS had taken up the mandate of supplying blood wherever it is needed, whether private or public health

George Norton
George Norton

institutions and it has maintained its function over the years.
For this reason, citizens were encouraged to become more aware of the importance of making regular donations to the bank, given their personal conditions are intact with the standard health regulation.
Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) through its shadow minister of health, Dr Frank Anthony, has indicated that Guyana has much to celebrate because of its accomplishments over the past years to meet the criteria set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for voluntary blood donation.
The PPP/C had taken much of the credit for this achievement since it believes that the implementation of strategic measures with the NBTS were efficient in its cause.
It was highlighted that in order for Guyana to thrust forward in the area of health, there needs to be much more done by the current ministry to ensure the process of blood transfusion becomes safer for the patients who are to receive the blood.
Noting the current plight of the health sector where there is a lag in the delivery of medical supply, the PPP/C urged the ministry to take immediate steps to rectify this situation.
“This shortage has prevented the timely screening of blood, which has already affected the availability of safe blood. We urge the government to take immediate steps to correct these deficiencies. Let us continue to provide safe blood to our people; there should be no compromise.” With the Zika Virus quickly brewing in Guyana, it was pointed out that this should be more reason for the ministry to address the shortages. It was suggested that samples also be screened in order to detect the virus before the blood is transfused.
On that note, the party commended NBTS as well as the voluntary donors for their contributions, and urged more partnerships between health organisations, as well as the ministry and NBTS so that a reliable supply of blood is always in store to meet the needs of the population.
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated worldwide to mark the significance of voluntary blood donors as well as to raise awareness. It was first observed in 2004 and has since been recognised annually.