With a decrease in blood and blood product importation and an increase in the number of local blood donors, the Cayman Islands Blood Bank confirmed that the country is moving in the right direction towards universal access to safe blood transfusion.
Five hundred and sixteen lives were saved or improved in 2018 as a result of blood transfusion. Many of these transfusions were the direct result of the contributions from donors in the Cayman Islands, who by the end of 2018 totalled a record number of 1,529 for the Blood Bank.
“World Blood Donor Day marked on Friday, 14 June, serves as a time to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood,” the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) Pathology Laboratory Manager and Blood Bank Manager Judith Clarke said. “We chose this opportune time to officially recognise and thank all the donors who have contributed towards this noteworthy achievement for our islands. It is through your donation(s) that lives in our community have been saved.”
With a 19.4% increase of blood donors last year compared to 2017, the Blood Bank was able to import less blood and blood products from the United States. The Blood Bank reported a 31.8% decrease in red blood cell imports in 2018, which is the main imported blood product impacting the decline.
“This importation decline indicates that we as a country and blood bank are moving in the right direction,” Ms Clarke stated. “However, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the primary contributing factor to this accomplishment, which is due mainly to improved collaboration with corporate Cayman and the Cayman Islands Blood Bank.”
“I would like to thank our donors, corporate partners, Generali Worldwide, HSA board and management and the hard-working staff of the laboratory and the Blood Bank for raising awareness of the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care. They have all performed very crucial roles directly and indirectly in the collection of blood,” Ms Clarke added.
Despite all the progress made, with 30% of the population eligible to donate but only 2.4% donating blood, there is still much work to be done Ms Clarke noted.
The public is reminded that every day, someone, somewhere, needs blood. Transfusions of blood and blood products save hundreds of lives in Cayman every year including women with pregnancy and childbirth associated bleeding; children with severe anaemia; patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune deficiency conditions; people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents; and patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.
To check if you are an eligible donor or to book an appointment to donate, please visit www.bloodbank.ky or call the Cayman Islands Blood Bank at 244-2674. Walk-in appointments are also available. The Blood Bank is located in the Cayman Islands Hospital’s JCI-accredited Pathology Laboratory on the second floor of the main building. It is open Monday – Friday 7:00am – 6:30pm and Saturday 9am – 5pm. It is closed on Sunday and Public Holidays.