Recently 233 units of blood were collected at the ‘One Love, One Blood’ donation drive, staged by the Mandeville Regional Hospital (MRH) in Manchester, the largest single day blood donation drive in Jamaica.
Following a successful blood drive in 2016 where the hospital collected 152 units; the hospital boosted its efforts with this year’s staging which attracted 335 donors; however, 233 persons were able to donate, exceeding the target of 200 units. The RideWise Safe Biking campaign for motor cyclists was also launched; it encourages safe use of the road and appropriate protective gear.
According to CEO of the MRH, Alwyn Miller, the donation drive was more than an effort to solicit blood and was “largely about behaviour change, encouraging consistent voluntary blood donation to improve supplies and reducing the demand for blood caused by preventable motor vehicle accidents and in particular motor cyclists. It was used as an opportunity to educate donors and the youth as the next generation to bring about a long term change in their perspective relating to these issues.”
“The RideWise campaign was launched with the premier of a short film, the “Young and the Reckless” which tells the story of the implications of motor cycle accident victims from a physical, financial and social perspective and the impact and challenges with blood inadequacies, resource requirements and considerations that impact the length of stay and general welfare of hospital in-patients. We hope that the film through its circulation will serve as a motivation for behaviour change” Mr. Miller explained.
Turning to the importance of blood and its impact on public health
facilities, Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority, Wayne Chen pointed out that “if we were able to cut accident victims by just 30 percent, we would save the public health system almost $500 million annually and if we were able to have 45 fewer accident victims at the MRH, we would save $5 million in this hospital alone per year.”
Mr. Chen appealed to persons to develop a culture of regular blood donation and a culture that reduces the need for blood in cases where it involves vehicular accidents and victims of violence.
Mr. Miller expressed gratitude to the Manchester community for making the event successful. He commended the Northern Caribbean University for being the largest donor group, with more than 100 persons supporting the blood drive.
Meanwhile, Mr. Miller is encouraging the public to continue its voluntary blood donation, which has been made easier through extended opening hours at the MRH Blood Bank, which opens from Mondays to Thursdays 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Blood Bank is closed on weekends and on public holidays.
Bikers from the Jamaica Motor Cyclist Association demonstrating stunt riding. They encouraged motor cyclists to wear the required protective gear.
Sixth form students from the Belair High School in Manchester resting and getting refreshed after donating blood at the ‘One Love, One Blood’ donation drive.