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Jun 14, 2004

Blood Bank moves to new home

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While we often hear of huge monetary donations made by the world’s great philanthropists–people like Bill Gates and Ted Turner–perhaps the greatest gift one human being can give another has nothing to do with money. It is the gift of life that is given every time we donate blood. Today, on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, News 5′s Jacqueline Woods found that giving blood in Belize is easier–and more important–than ever.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

If you have ever given blood in Belize then you know how badly the national blood transfusion service was in need of a better facility. Blood bank supervisor Joy Charley says the new unit is better equipped to provide just the kind of environment needed for both donors and staff.

Joy Charley, Supervisor, Blood Bank

?Our facilities upstairs where we were on the third flat, they were not user friendly. It was small, the waiting area was hot. Now we have gotten a much bigger waiting area where we have air conditioning so the donors can wait in comfort. Also, the interview area, we have gotten two little cubicles that we can interview two people at a time in privacy. We have gotten four couches to collect blood, so the process, as soon as we get more nurses on hand, will go much faster. And we?re believe that that will be the next step, our nurses.?

The Belize Blood Bank collects about three thousand units a year and is responsible for ensuring that there is always an adequate supply. Today, as volunteer donors are recognized worldwide, the Ministry of Health is calling on Belizeans, especially youths, to help save lives by becoming a blood donor…like Reginald Gordon and Alex Ferguson.

Jacqueline Woods

?How long have you been a donor and why did you become a donor??

Reginald Gordon, Volunteer Blood Donor

?From bout in the 70s I?ve been a donor. I became a donor just through my neighbours them. Wah man mi sick bad and really need a pint a blood and I gone donate the pint a blood fi he and from then I start to come give blood free. No charge no money.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Why would you encourage others to do the same??

Reginald Gordon

?I encourage a lot of people fi do it. Sometimes they di talk about money, they want money; if they noh give money they noh want come give the blood. I just like to give the blood because it mek I feel sometime, good.?

Alex Ferguson, Volunteer Blood Donor

?I also encourage other donor so that they can become a voluntary blood donor in other words to give to save lives. I have been a donor for nineteen years. The reason I became a donor was to give to my family member.?

Minister of Health Vildo Marin says the campaign is part of his ministry?s efforts of moving towards a blood banking system based exclusively on voluntary donors rather than replacement donors who only give blood when a relative or friend is ill. The goal is to recruit at least five percent of the population or twelve thousand five hundred volunteers.

Joy Charley, Supervisor, Blood Bank

?We have started on more educational programmes, and also, as part of the National Blood Transfusion Services, we are to get nurses in each region to collect blood from volunteer donors. At the moment, the laboratory technologist in the one in the region that is collecting blood, but they also have to do their lab work. So as soon as we get our nurses we?ll be able to collect blood from donors during the course of a working say and then volunteers will be able to come in more often?

In the past three years, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure the supply of blood is safe.

Joy Charley

?We have placed some other protocols in place that all units are screened and before a unit can be released into circulation, there needs to be checked and double checked that it is okay. We have been doing two tags: a red tag when you collect a unit and a green tag when the unit is cleared for use. So those some of the steps, plus we have put other protocols in place.”

As part of World Donor Day, several donors who have given between twenty and forty-five units of blood received certificates for their unselfish contributions. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

Today the National Blood Transfusion service launched a new initiative called Belize Club Twenty-five. The programme encourages persons between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five years old to become volunteer blood donors.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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