Youth encouraged to give blood

Since
2004, World Blood Donor Day has helped bring public attention to the critical
need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion and how important
voluntary, unpaid blood donors are to national health systems.

The
focus of World Blood Donor Day 2010 will be on Young Donors – with the slogan:
“New blood for the world”.  World Blood
Donor Day is jointly sponsored by four core agencies dedicated to improving
global health care: The World Health Organization, the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood
Donor Organizations and the International Society of Blood Transfusion.

The
need for blood is increasing in all parts of the world. Young people can make
an important contribution by donating blood and by recruiting other young
people to become donors. 

In
the Cayman Islands we face some unique challenges to our blood supply needs. To
reduce the possible risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease and New
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease by blood and blood products, several
countries implemented a policy to restrict blood donors from the United Kingdom
where cases of the CJD variant were clinically diagnosed. Although rare, CJD is
an invariably fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system.

Given
that our population base has such strong ties to the UK this has unfortunately
excluded many potential donors, including some who have been regular blood
donors in the past.

It
is essential that new donors now step forward to take the place of previous
donors who may be restricted from giving. 
The HSA desperately needs the support of all Caymanians and residents to
ensure that adequate levels of blood are stored. Giving blood is an amazing
opportunity for each of us to play a part in saving the life of a friend,
neighbour, co-worker, or family member. And it is such a simple thing to do.

Many
activities are planned around the world to focus on the role of young people in
ensuring a safe blood supply. Without a new generation of consistent blood
donors our nation will struggle to meet its medical needs and patients will
suffer. That is why it is essential to our health care system that our youth
step forward and assume their share of the responsibility to maintain an
adequate supply of blood and plasma.

World
Blood Donor Day is also an opportunity to celebrate those who already donate
blood. Today, 57 countries have achieved 100 per cent voluntary blood donation,
up from 39 in 2002.

On
behalf of the Ministry of Health I would like to thank the selfless individuals
who donate their blood and plasma to save the lives and improve the health of
people whom they may never meet.

Mark
Scotland,
Minister
of Health

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