The Cayman Islands Blood Bank received donations from a record number of 1,529 individuals in 2018. The nearly 20% increase in donors over the previous year helped the blood bank decrease imports from the United States, according to the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.
Imports of red blood cells decreased by a reported 31.8%.
The milestone indicates progress towards making Cayman more self-sufficient in meeting its demand for life-saving blood transfusions. But much more can be done, said blood bank manager Judith Clarke.
Of the 30% of Cayman’s population eligible to donate, she said only 2.4% are doing so. For World Blood Donor Day on Friday, 14 June, she encouraged more people to contribute.
“The public is reminded that every day, someone, somewhere, needs blood,” an HSA press release states. “Transfusions of blood and blood products save hundreds of lives in Cayman every year including women with pregnancy and childbirth associated bleeding; children with severe anaemia; patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune deficiency conditions; people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents; and patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.”
In 2018, the HSA says, 516 lives were saved in Cayman as a result of blood transfusions.
Health Minister Dwayne Seymour highlighted this year’s World Blood Donor Day theme, ‘Safe blood for all’. He said in a statement that there is “an almost unimaginable demand for safe blood that can only be met through regular blood donations. There is no better way to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe blood transfusions whenever and wherever they are needed.”
To check if you are eligible to donate or to set up an appointment, visit www.bloodbank.ky or call the Cayman Islands Blood Bank at 244-2674. The blood bank, on the second floor of Cayman Islands Hospital, is open Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm. Walk-ins are welcome.