Local blood bank begins drive for 500 donors

| 06/02/2017 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Blood Bank drive

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Blood Bank is hoping to find 500 new donors by the end of 2017, and towards this end it hosted its first major blood drive on 28 January at the recent Taste of Cayman Food Festival, where 30 people signed up. Judith Clarke, Laboratory Manager at the Health Services Authority (HSA), said the drive went very well. “Thirty potential donors registered that evening and several more took our website address to sign up online,” she said. “We were able to reach a great number of people and educate them on the reasons they may or may not be able to donate blood.”

People who visited or lived in the UK from 1980 to 1996 for three months or more are still not eligible to donate because of the outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease in Britain at the time. There are also restrictions on people under 18 or over 70, those with certain health conditions and pregnant woman, further shrinking the potential pool in an already small country, which means the blood bank must work harder to persuade those who are eligible to donate.

William Inniss, District Alumni Chair of Rotary District 7020, who helped with the recent drive, said that members of that club have donated and continue to donate blood regularly to the Cayman Island Blood Bank.

“Rotary also strongly supports the projects of our Rotaract clubs. One of these projects lately has been a district​-​wide initiative to encourage and promote blood donation in each club’s island,” he added.

The World Health Organisation states that transfusions of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies, such as conflicts, natural disasters and childbirth. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.

“The importance of donating cannot be understated; each donation potentially saves three lives. But aside from helping others, there are many benefits to the donor as well,” Inniss said. “It preserves your cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, reduces the risk of cancer and provides free mini-physical.”

More about the Cayman Islands Blood Bank and how to become a donor, a sponsor or a volunteer, can be found here.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I regularly used to give blood until the cows came along. In those days I was told that most locals would only give blood for their own relatives and the Blood Bank was therefore largely dependent on expatriate donors. I wonder if this is still the case?.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If we assume the lifespan of Platelets is 5 days, Red Cells is around 42 days, and Plasma 1 year; and there is an automatic two week ZIKV quarantine on all current blood donations: does that mean there are currently no platelet transfusions available for Cancer patients, and limited Red Cell transfusion inventory for those with acute anaemia?

  3. Anonymous says:

    What is the commercial relationship between the GT Hospital’s Public Blood Bank and the Private Shetty facility that results in public blood supplies being diminished as they are diverted for elective “for-profit” procedures in the Eastern Districts?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but the whole mad-cow disease restriction is a joke! To date there have been 227 cases of vCJD worldwide, three of which were due to blood transfusion.. EVER! The rest were probably caused by eating contaminated meat products. 176 of these cases, including the three transfusion transmitted cases, were in the UK, and 27 in France. I’m Irish – there were 4 cases in Ireland between 1996 & 2006.. I’m very willing to give blood as did at least once a year back home. Don’t get me started on the fact that everyone on a permit here has to have at least one blood test a year.. If I were Caymanian I’d actually be asking for blood from anywhere else… A Joke.. That is all!

    • Diogenes says:

      Yeah, if I had major trauma or needed a life saving transfusion wouldn’t take me long to evaluate the miniscule risk of contracting CPD versus the certainty of dying without the blood. Can’t they the it and at least have something in hand if they run out?

    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down! You sound like a right mad cow!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The policy here has always discriminated against former UK residents.
    In UK most people can give blood. You can give blood if you:
    are fit and healthy
    weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs or 50kg
    are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
    are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years

    So, how come the rules regarding residency in UK between 1980 and 1996 are different? Just asking????
    Surely there must be some test to check for CJD?

    • Anonymous says:

      I would willingly give blood, as I used to do in the UK. but cannot because of the restrictions. The only restriction imposed by the UK Blood Transfusion Service in relation to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is if you actually have CJD or you have a family history of the disease, in which case, understandably, you are not allowed to give blood.

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