Donated blood in Guyana guaranteed 100% safe – CMO

Chief Medical Officer, Shamdeo Persaud


Blood Donor Angelica Holder rewarded for her contributions by Dr. Pedro Lewis of the NBTS

By Rupa SeenaraineThe National Blood Transfusion Service has recorded over 10,000 voluntary blood donors in Guyana through several collection mediums, all of which have displayed a 100 per cent safety regulation in the process in which the blood is obtained and administered to patients.

This was shared by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, during the global celebration of World Blood Donor Day 2019 on Friday.

He recognised that a large population of Guyanese are voluntary donors, which enhances the donation exercise. So far, they have managed to extend the collection network beyond the centralised location in Georgetown. However, a principal operation base allows for increased safety regulations.

Presently, the Blood Bank has set the target to achieve 30,000 voluntary donors or five per cent of the population to facilitate the ever-changing modernised healthcare, catering for all medical needs.

“Our services are centralised for a good purpose to try to bring the standards of blood safety in all its facets. So, every time you donate blood, more than 11 markers are looked at on every unit to make sure that we’re not giving you a disease that you don’t have and we can guarantee a 100 per cent safety of the blood. We also do some other checks which amount to 17 or 18 [regulations],” the CMO stated.

He added, “We’ve passed that 10,000 mark. I think last year we even exceeded 12,000 so we can reach for the 30,000 mark in terms of collection. Remarkably, a large proportion in excess of 90 per cent voluntary donors so very few persons are going through a family replacement.”
Most populated areas in Guyana are used as stations for blood donation. With the Georgetown Public Hospital established as the primary site, the activity continues at regional hospitals in areas such as Bartica, Mabaruma, Lethem, Mahaicony, Fort Wellington, Diamond, Suddie, Linden, New Amsterdam, West Demerara and others.

Persaud reminded that while some persons might display resistance towards the idea of donating or receiving the fluid, it has no adverse effect on the health of an individual. Contrarily, it has proven to improve the body’s operations.

“What we really don’t want to have is for anyone to have to lose their life because they needed blood or some support and it wasn’t available…There is still a lot of fear among the population…Giving blood does nothing adverse to your health. We know that persons who donate regularly have some of the best health indicators,” he insisted.

Blood Demand

Generally, some persons require blood units as a result of accidents, medical conditions, surgeries, genetic disorders among other causes. In Guyana, a large proportion is used to save the lives of pregnant women. As such, the need for these donations is fundamental.
Head of the transfusion centre, Dr Pedro Lewis related that they currently have a chain of over 450 collaborators to amplify collection statistics.

With talks to open a trauma centre, it is estimated that Guyana’s blood demand will significantly increase. While there has been a number of constraints, Lewis signalled that they have been able to supply the needs of private and public medical institutions.

“We try as much, of course with our constraints, so that we can collect as much units as possible. If you’d ask if we have enough blood, I would say I’m not satisfied. We have to realise that the Ministry of Public Health is moving towards establishing a trauma centre very soon and we’re talking trauma, we’re talking a lot of blood units and we need approximately five per cent of Guyana’s population,” Lewis explained.

It was highlighted that there is a need for more education and awareness among the general populace on the quest to save lives through adequate blood contributions.

On Friday, a number of persons were recognised for their donations to the Blood Bank. One of the recipients, Angelica Holder, emphasised the importance of such blood, since it eliminates the waiting time before a patient can be treated.