PHO/WHO Urges Caribbean Residents To Give Blood

Sunday, June 15, 2014 9:46 AM- George's, Grenada
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06/13/2014 Bridgetown, Barbados The Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Office of Caribbean Program Coordination is urging citizens and residents of the region to commit to regular blood donation.

This advice was issued on the eve of World Blood Donor Day 2014, which occurs on Saturday June 14th. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation and to recognize the contribution of voluntary unpaid blood donors in saving lives and improving health.

Statistics from the WHO’s Global Status Report on Blood Safety and Availability suggest that low to middle income countries lag considerably behind higher income neighbours in meeting national goals for maintaining adequate stockpiles of blood and blood products.

For the year 2010, territories of the English speaking Caribbean combined, reported collecting some 92, 972 units of whole blood. This works out to about 12 units per 1000 of population, in contrast to the approximately 37 units per 1000 that is usually collected by high income countries.

The need for blood transfusion is often quite urgent when it arises. Beneficiaries of donated blood may include persons undergoing surgical procedures, those affected by accidental or other injuries and some who are affected by specific medical conditions.

The Office of Caribbean Program Coordination recommends that Caribbean countries should use the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2014 to bolster national efforts to achieve and maintain adequate stockpiles of blood and blood products.

Best practice dictates that blood collection should be based on 100% voluntary, freely donated blood, without offer of compensation. The rationale for this is to promote donation by persons who are motivated by a desire to help others rather than by financial need, as this is likely to yield a donor pool which is at lower risk of infectious diseases. Countries also adhere to specific guidelines in screening and testing of donated blood to enhance safety of the blood supply.

The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2014 is “Safe Blood for Saving Mothers".

The main objective is to support blood donation on the behalf of pregnant women as they prepare for delivery. With about 800 women throughout the world dying daily from pregnancy or childbirth related complications including severe bleeding, PAHO/WHO asserts timely access to safe blood and blood products as essential for all countries, as a component of comprehensive programs to prevent maternal deaths.

World Blood Donor Day was designated an annual event by a resolution of the Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in 2005. Further information on World Blood Donor Day 2014 may be obtained from http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2014/en/

Founded in 1902, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is the world’s oldest international public health agency and the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).




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