Record donations reduce dependence on imported blood

| 13/06/2019
CNS Local Life
A KPMG staff member donates during the company’s blood drive

(CNS Local Life): With a decrease in blood and blood-product importation and a record number of local donors last year, the Cayman Islands is moving in the right direction towards universal access to safe blood transfusion. According to the Cayman Islands Blood Bank, 516 lives were saved or improved in 2018 as a result of blood transfusions.

Many of these transfusions were the direct result of the contributions from donors in the Cayman Islands, which totalled a record 1,529 by the end of 2018, the Blood Bank said in a Health Services Authority (HSA) press release.

“World Blood Donor Day marked on Friday, 14 June, serves as a time to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood,” said Judith Clarke, manager of both the HSA Pathology Laboratory and Blood Bank. “We chose this opportune time to officially recognise and thank all the donors who have contributed towards this noteworthy achievement for our islands. It is through your donation(s) that lives in our community have been saved.”

With a 19.4% increase in blood donors last year compared to 2017, the Blood Bank was able to import less blood and fewer blood products from the US and reported a 31.8% decrease in red blood cell imports in 2018, which is the main imported blood product affecting the decline.

“This importation decline indicates that we as a country and blood bank are moving in the right direction,” Clarke said in the release. “However, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the primary contributing factor to this accomplishment, which is due mainly to improved collaboration with corporate Cayman and the Cayman Islands Blood Bank.”

Clarke thanked donors, corporate partners and sponsors, the HSA board and management and the laboratory and Blood Bank staff “for raising awareness of the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care. They have all performed very crucial roles directly and indirectly in the collection of blood,” she added.

Clarke noted, however, that more could be done; while 30% of the population are eligible to donate blood only 2.4% actually do so.

Every day, someone, somewhere, needs blood, the release stated, adding that transfusions of blood and blood products save hundreds of lives in Cayman every year including women with pregnancy- and childbirth-associated bleeding; children with severe anaemia; patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune-deficiency conditions; people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents; and patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.

The Cayman Islands Blood Bank, located on the second floor of the Cayman Islands Hospital, is open Monday-Friday from 7am-6:30pm and Saturday from 9am-5pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

To check if you are eligible to donate or to book an appointment, call the Blood Bank at 244-2674 or go to its website. Walk-ins are also accepted.

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I would be a willing donor but cannot because I lived in the UK over 30 years ago. So I cannot be a donor due to the mad-cow possibility. The fact that I gave blood for 5 years following my return from university seems to be lost. Plus I am perfectly healthy.
    But I understand that we buy blood from overseas (from the US?) where the same disease has been found much more recently.

    • Anonymous says:

      The US and Canada doesn’t take our blood either. This isn’t restricted to Cayman.