The Cayman Islands, along with hundreds of other countries around the world, will tomorrow, Friday, 14 June, be celebrating World Blood Donor Day.
On this day, the World Health Organization encourages as many countries across the world as possible to raise awareness of the need for blood and blood banking. The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority is also taking this time to thank its dedicated voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gift.
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on 14 June. This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary and the WHO is encouraging countries and health organisations around the world to promote the act of giving blood, under the slogan, “Give the gift of life: donate blood”.
According to the WHO, blood collection from voluntary blood donors is the cornerstone of a safe and sufficient blood supply. Regular voluntary blood donors are the safest source of blood, as there are fewer blood-borne infections among these donors than among people who donate for family members in emergencies or who give blood for payment; thus emphasising the need for regular voluntary contributions by as many people as possible.
How you can help
Here at home, we can all do our part to help the community by donating blood at the Cayman Islands Blood Bank, which is situated on the second floor of Cayman Islands Hospital across from the paediatric ward, from 8am until 5pm Friday, when the blood bank will be especially geared up to receiving blood donations.
Donating just a small amount of blood can mean the difference between life and death for patients. It is worth remembering that a single unit of blood can save as many as three lives. In high-income countries such as the Cayman Islands, blood that has been donated by volunteers is most commonly used in transfusions for supportive care in general surgery, massive trauma and cancer therapy.
The Cayman Islands Blood Bank needs additional volunteers to boost its blood supplies as it is 25 per cent down on optimum levels; it is critical to the health of the nation that the number of blood donors increases.
Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer with the HSA, said she hopes everyone will play a role in increasing local blood supplies.
“Everyone can help out in different ways,” she said. “As well as donating your blood on the spot tomorrow, you can also sign up with the blood bank as a potential donor to be contacted if your blood type is needed.”
Ms Yearwood continued: “The Health Services Authority gives our wholehearted thanks to all the volunteers who have kindly donated their blood to the blood bank and who make the effort to regularly give their blood. Your contribution has made all the difference in the lives of so many people, not only in saving life, but also in helping people live longer and more productive lives. So, thank you.”
The WHO states that providing safe and adequate blood through well-organised, national blood systems should be an integral part of every country’s national healthcare policy. In addition, it is the WHO’s goal for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from 100 per cent voluntary unpaid donors by 2020.
The HSA encourages everyone in Cayman to assist the WHO in reaching these goals.