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Posted: Tuesday 17 January, 2023 at 6:00 PM

Health Ministry makes changes to blood donation following public outcry

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - HEALTH officials in Basseterre have been forced to institute new measures for persons donating blood following public outcry, reportedly over a recent incident believed to have resulted in the death of an individual.


    Reports suggested that an individual was turned away from donating blood because of the time of the day when no staff member was available to draw the blood, which resulted in none was taken for the person in need.


    In a media statement yesterday (Jan. 16), the Ministry of Health and the Joseph N France General Hospital Executive Management Committee announced that there are “critical changes to be enacted immediately to ensure the continued improvement of quality patient care to the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis”.


    As part of the  changes, the Ministry said: “Blood Bank of the JNF Hospital will be accepting blood donations from suitable donors during the regular working hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, the hospital wishes to inform the public that in cases of emergency, no suitable donor would be rejected at any time.”


    That comes as the Blood Bank has been finding it difficult donors, as a number of public appeals were made in recent times for persons to go forward and make the donations of various types.


    It is against that backdrop that it was also announced that a series of outreach activities to increase the national blood donor pool and the reactivation of the national blood donor registry to prevent the frequent shortages of blood products nationally would be undertaken.


    “All healthy-bodied persons in the nation who are willing to donate blood are encouraged to register as donors and donate twice a year to assist us in having a constant supply of blood products available,” the Ministry appealed.


    Going forward, the Ministry of Health said all persons who are scheduled to do elective surgical procedures at the JNF Hospital that are deemed to be procedures with a large expected blood loss, would now be asked to provide suitable blood donors at least three days prior to the procedure. 


    This, the Ministry noted, would help to allow the hospital’s other blood donation reserves to be used for emergencies only.


    Meanwhile, the statement also said: “Plans are on the way to outfit the Pogson Hospital in Sandy Point, and also the Mary Charles Hospital in Molyneux with small functional laboratories to be used for emergency tests and basic blood and urine tests. The outfitting of these facilities would help to decrease the overall burden on the government lab facilities at JNF and allow the medical technology staff to focus on the more severe cases at our main hospital.”


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