U.S. Embassy gives the gift of life

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Blood donation[www.inewsguyana.com]The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Ministry of Health and conducted a blood drive at the Embassy on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

The National Blood Bank relies on donations of blood from public-spirited persons to ensure safe blood is available where blood transfusion may be the only option to save a life.  United States Government staff, as well as staff from other diplomatic missions and international organizations, donated a total of 28 pints of blood.

2013 marks ten years of partnership between the United States of America and Guyana in combatting HIV/AIDS under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR).  A major success story of that partnership has been the development of an adequate, safe supply of blood for the people of Guyana.

Over the past decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided technical support to the Guyanese Ministry of Health on blood safety activities in order to enhance blood collection procedures and policies in Guyana, to recruit and retain low-risk blood donors, and to ensure 100 percent testing of all donated blood units for HIV and other transfusion-transmissible infections.

Physicians and other clinicians in transfusion practices have been provided education and utilization guidelines to reduce inappropriate use of blood as a clinical therapy, which has been linked to shortages.

Thanks to this ongoing partnership, 2013 marked the first year in which Guyana has been able to collect sufficient blood to meet its projected national needs, having collected over 10,000 units of donated blood.

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