Blood banking services to be offered at regional hospitals – Dr. Anthony

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony on Thursday said the ministry will be expanding its blood banking services to every region across the country.

The minister noted that permanent sites will be established at the Regional Hospitals so that persons willing to donate can have access to the facilities.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony commissioning the blood bank at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.

Currently, blood banking services are being offered at the Central Blood Bank, located at the Georgetown Public Hospital, the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital, Region Six and the West Demerara Regional Hospital in Region Three.

“The intention is that all of our regional hospitals would have capabilities to be able to take blood from donors and also to be able to screen the blood, make sure it’s free from any pathogens and then be able to transfuse that blood if it’s necessary,” the minister said during Thursday’s COVID-19 update.

Dr. Anthony said plans are in the pipelines to establish facilities at Suddie Public Hospital in Region Two and the Linden Hospital Complex in Region Ten.

The government has been working steadfastly to decentralise blood banking services across Guyana. Over time, every region should be able to provide the service and allow persons donating to be screened and treated for various illnesses.

Donating blood can save a life.

“We are increasing the amount of fixed points where people can come in and donate and at the same time maintaining our mobile work activities where we can go to special areas and collect blood,” Dr. Anthony noted.

Speaking about blood banking over the past two years, the minister said less donors came forward due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that pre-COVID the blood bank would collect approximately 14,000 units of blood, however, only about 9,000 units were collected during last year.

“We’re mindful that we had a decrease and we’re working actively to see how we can get more people donating,” the health minister noted.

As the country returns to some semblance of normalcy, it is expected that persons would be willing to start donating blood again.

Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Dr. Pedro Lewis

Meanwhile, speaking at a ceremony on June 14 in observance of World Blood Donor Day, Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Dr. Pedro Lewis said even in the COVID-19 pandemic, staff ventured into community sensitisation to ensure persons understand that donations were still needed for patients like obstetric mothers and sickle cell patients who depend on the blood bank.

“The staff of course, they took to the ground they did what we call community sensitisation and that particular strategy I could tell you gained a lot of attraction across the Caribbean… where they went house to house educating persons about the importance of blood donation, let them know that we still have persons depending on us as it relates to surgery or obstetric patients and these persons felt comfortable donating at primary facilities,” Dr. Lewis said.

He further noted that Guyana has over 15, 000 donors. Dr. Lewis is encouraging more persons to donate and save lives.

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