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Island is in need of more blood donors

Only around two percent of Bermuda residents are responsible for the Island’s entire supply of donated blood, according to Health Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin.

Speaking to mark World Blood Donor Day, Ms Gordon Pamplin said that while in most developed countries six percent of the public are blood donors, only around 1,100 people donate blood locally.

“Globally 38 percent of donors are under the age of 25,” she added. “But here in Bermuda, less than four percent of our donors are under 25.

“We are truly grateful for our existing donors — they are faithful and dedicated — but we need to expand our donor base to maintain sustainability and reduce the pressure on those who do donate. We currently have about 1,100 donors but would really like to see that number increase to at least 2,000.”

Blood supplies in Bermuda are entirely dependant on those who choose to donate and only a small percentage of donated blood is used to treat trauma victims such as road traffic and violence victims.

“Donated blood is primarily used for people who undergo surgery or who need blood for therapeutic reasons, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy or people with sickle cell anaemia,” Ms Gordon Pamplin said.

“About 35 to 45 units of blood are needed in Bermuda every week to manage therapeutic uses, planned surgery and trauma.

“Put simply, the health and wellness of our community depends on an adequate supply of blood, and blood donors save lives.”

Ms Gordon Pamplin said that every year, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital uses more than 2,200 units of blood, and as a result it is vital for the Island’s health that people step forward to donate.

“We are all stakeholders in the matter of giving blood,” she said. “You never know when it might be you or a loved one who needs the life saving gift of blood.

“Healthy blood is vital to us all, and the average adult has about ten pints of blood circulating around their body. When you donate blood, just one pint is taken, and that volume can be easily replenished within 24 hours.

“The entire process of donation takes about 30 minutes and is relatively painless. Nurses and staff at the hospital are extremely attentive and pleasant, making the process simple and easy.

“We know it takes a village to raise a child — it also takes a village to assure the gift of life — an adequate supply of blood for our population.”

Bermuda Hospitals Board CEO and President Venetta Symonds meanwhile stressed the importance of young donors, saying: “As our current pool of donors grows older, we must recruit members of the younger generation to replace them.

“While we are grateful for everyone in our community who chooses to donate blood, we would love to see people in their 20s and 30s become donors.

“A unit of donated blood is usually separated into different products and as a result, up to three lives can be saved with a single donation. Providing blood products to those in need depends solely on the unsung heroes who choose to become donors.”

Only around two percent of Bermuda’s population are blood donors, compared to the average of six percent in other developed countries. Health Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin is asking for more residents to become blood donors.

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Published June 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 18, 2013 at 12:01 am)

Island is in need of more blood donors

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