KEMH in campaign to boost blood donations
A drive to recruit young blood donors has been launched.
Eyitayo Fakunle, of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital haematology department, said people aged 18 to 24 make up only 4 per cent of blood donors. He said: “Finding young blood donors between 18 and 25 years has proven difficult in Bermuda,”
Dr Fakunle added that blood donation was a quick and easy way to give back to the community.
He said one of the targets for the donor centre this year was to ensure quality service and a pleasant experience for donors. Dr Fakunle added there are also plans to replace some equipment to maintain the quality of service.
He was speaking at the Hamilton Rotary Club meeting, held at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club on Tuesday.
He told Rotarians only 39 of the 964 blood donors in 2018 were 18 to 24 years old. Dr Eyitayo said the World Health Organisation recommended that 38 per cent of a country’s blood donors should be in the 18-24 category.
But he said more than 85 per cent of donors last year were 25 to 65 years old with the majority aged more than 45.
A total of 488 people aged between 45 and 65 years donated blood in 2018 compared with 350 people aged 25 to 44.
Dr Fakunle added women donors outnumbered men 578 to 386.
There were only 97 new blood donors last year and 867 repeat donors, down on the 114 new donors in 2017 and 159 in 2016. He added maintaining a figure of 1,000 blood donors each year, about 2 per cent of eligible donors in Bermuda, was a problem.
Dr Fakunle said one of the department’s aims for this year was to increase the number of blood donors by 20 per cent.
He explained: “New blood donors are required at all times because about 10 to 15 per cent of the repeat donors need to be replaced each year due to ineligibility, relocation from the island and inconveniences associated with donations.”
He added that 2,500 units of blood products were supplied for transfusion each year.
Dr Fakunle said the blood transfusion service offered incentives to donors.
He added: “We have a pins programme, supported by the Bermuda Hospitals Board, which awards pins for major donation milestones from ten to 100.”
“We have also been privileged and honoured that one of our blood donors, Peter Barrett, created and supported The 50 Club for blood donors that have donated more than 50 times.”
The names of more 100 blood donors were engraved on a plaque to mark their milestones in 2018 and another 25 names will be added this year. He said polo shirts have also been handed out to blood donors.