“Celebrating the gift of blood” was the theme of the day in Jamaica on World Blood Donor Day. An awards ceremony, organized by the National Blood Transfusion Service and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization honoured individuals, educational institutions, uniformed groups and corporate groups.

The Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service praised the generosity of those who donated blood voluntarily, but brought in a sombre note when he described the challenges faced by the Blood Bank each year, with a shortage of necessary blood supplies being the most serious. He said that he hoped World Blood Donor Day would help to increase awareness of the need for blood, and that Blood Bank targets would be achieved. The Health Minister reiterated the plea to the general public to give blood to supplement the shortfall in the reserves across the island. He promised that the collection centre at the National Chest Hospital would be reopened in order to widen collection points.

The PAHO/WHO representative in Jamaica repeated the message, adding that Jamaica should try to match the efforts of St Lucia, where voluntary donation had increased substantially over the last 3 years.