Friday, June 14th, 2019

Young Persons Encouraged to Become Voluntary Blood Donors

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has called on young persons to become voluntary blood donors.

Speaking at a ceremony to observe World Blood Donor Day, at the offices of the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) on Slipe Pen Road in Kingston on June 14, the Minister said it is important for persons between 18 and 24 years to become regular voluntary blood donors, as they offer a valuable resource for the expansion of the service in Jamaica.

Dr. Tufton pointed out that in the Caribbean, 48 per cent of donors are between 24 and 44 years old, while in Latin America 43 per cent of all donors are between 18 and 24 years.

The Minister said that with just under 15 per cent of blood donations in Jamaica in 2018 from voluntary donors, and 17.5 per cent in 2017, the push for young people to become a part of the process is even more crucial.

“The goal is to strengthen the voluntary, unpaid blood donation system with a focus on youth,” he said.

“Over the next year, youth are to be targeted for sensitisation on the value of blood donations, even as recruitment efforts for donors begin,” Dr. Tufton added.

He said there would be focus on 17 to 24-year-olds “as blood can be given at 17 years and even at 16 with parental consent”.

According to the Minister, this would be done through a number of partnerships, over the next year.

“Through collaboration with the Jamaica Red Cross and the Kiwanis Club, the NBTS is looking specifically to recruit donors from members of the Junior Red Cross and the Key Clubs,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the National Blood Donor Schools’ Competition will be launched in the 2019/2020 academic year to support the effort