Health

Mandeville Hospital collects 233 units of blood in a day

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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TWO hundred and thirty-three units of blood were collected at the 'One Love, One Blood' donation drive staged by the Mandeville Regional Hospital (MRH) in Manchester — the largest single day blood donation drive in Jamaica, according to the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA).

Following a successful blood drive in 2016, in which the hospital collected 152 units, SRHA said in a release that the hospital boosted its efforts with this year's staging which attracted 335 donors. However, 233 individuals were able to donate, exceeding the target of 200 units, the release said.

The RideWise Safe Biking campaign for motorcyclists was also launched. SRHA said it encourages safe use of the road and appropriate protective gear.

According to CEO of the MRH, Alwyn Miller, the donation drive was more than an effort to solicit blood and was “largely about behaviour change, encouraging consistent voluntary blood donation to improve supplies and reducing the demand for blood caused by preventable motor vehicle accidents, in particular motorcyclists. It was used as an opportunity to educate donors and the youth as the next generation to bring about a long-term change in their perspective relating to these issues.

“The RideWise campaign was launched with the premier of a short film, the Young and the Reckless which tells the story of the implications of motorcycle accident victims from a physical, financial and social perspective; and the impact and challenges with blood inadequacies, resource requirements and considerations that impact the length of stay and general welfare of hospital in-patients. We hope that the film through its circulation will serve as a motivation for behaviour change,” Miller explained.

Turning to the importance of blood and its impact on public health facilities, SRHA Chairman Wayne Chen pointed out that “if we were able to cut accident victims by just 30 per cent, we would save the public health system almost $500 million annually. And if we were able to have 45 fewer accident victims at the MRH, we would save $5 million in this hospital alone per year.”

Chen appealed to Jamaicans to develop a culture of regular blood donation and a culture that reduces the need for blood in cases where it involves vehicular accidents and victims of violence.

In the meantime, Miller expressed gratitude to the Manchester community for making the event successful. He commended the Northern Caribbean University for being the largest donor group, with more than 100 individuals supporting the blood drive.

Miller is also encouraging the public to continue its voluntary blood donation, which has been made easier through extended opening hours at the MRH Blood Bank, which opens from Mondays to Thursdays 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Fridays, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Blood Bank is closed on weekends and on public holidays.

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