Deyalsingh: More blood donors needed

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has called on more people to become blood donors, now that there is a new and easy appointment system.

At the launch of the True Voluntary Blood Donation Campaign, at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain, on Tuesday morning, Deyalsingh said the country has 20,000 committed donors who pledge one unit of blood each year.

But this is nowhere close to meeting the demand of people in need of blood donations.

He said it costs taxpayers $40 million a year to process 20,000 pints. This is $2,000 in processing fees for one pint.

“This call of desperation should be something of the past, and this an issue that is causing physicians stress, patients stress, because they want to perform surgeries.”

He said 98 per cent of the blood collected each year is used for emergencies. Twenty per cent of the blood collected goes to the private sector and the rest to the public sector.

“So whatever hospital bed you lie in, be it a private hospital bed or public bed, you need blood.”

Appointments can now be made through a website where new and regular blood donors can select a date and location and fill in personal information before the appointment date.

The website is easy to understand and user-friendly. There is a self-service home screen that will take the user through some important pre-screening questions. Once completed, options for an appointment and location can be made.

All blood groups can donate.

Those willing to donate can visit the website at https://health.gov.tt/services/blood-donation-transfusion.

Deyalsingh said the existing chit system will run parallel to the new system until it can be phased out.