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Baptiste-Cornelis: Blood Bank running low
Minister of Health Therese Baptiste-Cornelis acknowledged that there was less blood in the system than there was last year. She was, however, hesitant to say that there was a “shortage of blood.” The supply dropped after the removal of the blood chit system in January. Baptiste-Cornelis said the blood chit system was discontinued due to abuse, saying donors with chits were selling them for thousands of dollars to those desperate for blood.
Since the start of January, the Port-of-Spain Blood Bank has lost approximately 500 units of blood per month. Baptiste-Cornelis is urging the public to come forward to donate blood to help those who are in desperate need of supply. She made the appeal at yesterday’s launch of a blood collection drive by the Ministry of Health at the National Blood Transfusion Unit headquarters at Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain. She said for the emergency blood supply to meet and surpass what was needed, every day 50 people needed to donate blood at the unit in Port-of-Spain.
The Blood Bank has lost approximately 500 units per month due to the scrapping of the blood chit system. The public has been reluctant to donate blood since the chit system was discontinued, according to Justin Sankar of the Blood Transfusion Unit. Sankar who is an acting medical laboratory technician III at the unit explained that under the chit system, blood donors were given a chit which they could use to retrieve their blood in emergencies. When the practice was stopped, the public became hesitant to donate blood fearing if they needed it they could not get it back, he said. Soca artiste Denyse Belfon lent her support to collection drive and donated blood to the cause.
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