Shootings and accidents causing greater blood demand
As Barbadians continue to grapple with an increase in public violence and accidents, there is also greater demand for blood donations to help the victims of these tragic incidents.
Word of this comes from Senior Blood Collecting Technician at the National Blood Collection Centre, Anderlene Sealy.
She explained that while persons generally donate blood to loved ones, accidents and violent crimes such as shootings and stabbings, have made the need for donations even greater. This is why they are urging persons to volunteer their time and give blood:
"The majority of persons come in to give blood to friends or relative, but we are trying to get away from that system.
"We are trying to get into 100 per cent voluntary donations."
Sealy stressed that "the blood donated only last for 35 days," as she highlighted the need for persons to make donations as regularly as they could to help to save lives:
"We want persons to just come in and keep the blood bank in good condition, so that when there are emergencies there will not be that pressure.
"Generally we have persons who are undergoing surgery, persons being treating with chemotherapy for cancer, those with sickle cell or those on dialysis who may need blood on an ongoing basis, but with the persons coming in after shootings and accidents there is a greater need."
She explained that while there is particularly the need for whole blood donations in these situations -blood which is drawn directly from the body, without removing the various components - this is not the only options.
Sealy explained that there are other options to whole blood donation, since some persons may have a low count in one component of their blood, but may have a high enough count in another area to donate that specific component:
"Apheresis is a donation which is easily done on a machine which is similar to dialysis, in which you can programme the machine to take out blood cells, plasma or platelets. We can take out the product that we want and the person gets back the blood."
"So even if you cannot be a whole blood donor, you can become a plasma donor or platelet donor and so on."
Stressing that "you are helping that persons to maintain their life - it is a gift that does not take much from you," she once again urged Barbadians to give blood, noting that it may even help them or a loved one.