Internacionales

Saving lives in T&T

The dead­ly rob­bery out­side of Pen­ny­wise Plaza, La Ro­main on Mon­day high­light­ed sev­er­al press­ing is­sues fac­ing T&T.

From the brazen­ness of crim­i­nals to the preva­lence of high-pow­ered weapons on our streets to the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by se­cu­ri­ty per­son­nel, we got a glimpse of our ug­ly.

How­ev­er, an­oth­er is­sue that has been raised and needs to be ad­dressed is our blood do­na­tion sys­tem.

Af­ter woman se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cer Pe­o­la Bap­tiste was shot mul­ti­ple times in the chest, shoul­der and ab­domen her fam­i­ly were left beg­ging for blood to save her life.

This is a re­sult of the chit sys­tem for blood that has been in place in this coun­try for some time.

How­ev­er, it is a sys­tem that the Health Min­istry is now ac­tive­ly try­ing to over­haul with the in­tro­duc­tion of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem.

As it cur­rent­ly stands around 20,000 units of blood are do­nat­ed by mem­bers of the pub­lic an­nu­al­ly in T&T.

This, how­ev­er, is woe­ful­ly in­ad­e­quate giv­en the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (WHO) rec­om­men­da­tion that one unit of blood should be col­lect­ed for every 20 peo­ple an­nu­al­ly.

Giv­en the size of our pop­u­la­tion, T&T re­quires 70,000 units of blood per year to en­sure a safe and re­li­able na­tion­al blood sup­ply to meet our med­ical needs.

As such the Health Min­istry is striv­ing to re­cruit at least 20,000 peo­ple with­in the next two to three years to do­nate blood vol­un­tar­i­ly about two to three times a year.

This tar­get rep­re­sents around 1.5 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion.

The ma­jor change with the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem is that donors will be giv­ing in a pure­ly al­tru­is­tic man­ner with­out it be­ing for a spe­cif­ic loved one who may be in ur­gent need of blood.

“Once suc­cess­ful, this new ap­proach will negate the need for in­di­vid­u­als to do­nate on be­half of spe­cif­ic pa­tients and will make for a safe, ad­e­quate, sus­tain­able and eq­ui­table sup­ply of blood and blood prod­ucts, based on 100 per cent vol­un­tary, non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tions,” Deyals­ingh said last month.

With the phas­ing out of the chit sys­tem and the prop­er im­ple­men­ta­tion of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem, it is hoped that an­oth­er per­son like Bap­tiste and her fam­i­ly are not left try­ing to source blood do­na­tions while deal­ing with un­prece­dent­ed tragedy.

But the suc­cess of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem de­pends on us.

Let’s all do what we can to reach that achiev­able tar­get.

While we look to the fu­ture of blood do­na­tion in T&T, we ap­plaud all of those who would have an­swered the call to pro­vide blood for Bap­tiste and oth­ers

The dead­ly rob­bery out­side of Pen­ny­wise Plaza, La Ro­main on Mon­day high­light­ed sev­er­al press­ing is­sues fac­ing T&T.

From the brazen­ness of crim­i­nals to the preva­lence of high-pow­ered weapons on our streets to the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by se­cu­ri­ty per­son­nel, we got a glimpse of our ug­ly.

How­ev­er, an­oth­er is­sue that has been raised and needs to be ad­dressed is our blood do­na­tion sys­tem.

Af­ter woman se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cer Pe­o­la Bap­tiste was shot mul­ti­ple times in the chest, shoul­der and ab­domen her fam­i­ly were left beg­ging for blood to save her life.

This is a re­sult of the chit sys­tem for blood that has been in place in this coun­try for some time.

How­ev­er, it is a sys­tem that the Health Min­istry is now ac­tive­ly try­ing to over­haul with the in­tro­duc­tion of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem.

As it cur­rent­ly stands around 20,000 units of blood are do­nat­ed by mem­bers of the pub­lic an­nu­al­ly in T&T.

This, how­ev­er, is woe­ful­ly in­ad­e­quate giv­en the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (WHO) rec­om­men­da­tion that one unit of blood should be col­lect­ed for every 20 peo­ple an­nu­al­ly.

Giv­en the size of our pop­u­la­tion, T&T re­quires 70,000 units of blood per year to en­sure a safe and re­li­able na­tion­al blood sup­ply to meet our med­ical needs.

As such the Health Min­istry is striv­ing to re­cruit at least 20,000 peo­ple with­in the next two to three years to do­nate blood vol­un­tar­i­ly about two to three times a year.

This tar­get rep­re­sents around 1.5 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion.

The ma­jor change with the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem is that donors will be giv­ing in a pure­ly al­tru­is­tic man­ner with­out it be­ing for a spe­cif­ic loved one who may be in ur­gent need of blood.

“Once suc­cess­ful, this new ap­proach will negate the need for in­di­vid­u­als to do­nate on be­half of spe­cif­ic pa­tients and will make for a safe, ad­e­quate, sus­tain­able and eq­ui­table sup­ply of blood and blood prod­ucts, based on 100 per cent vol­un­tary, non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tions,” Deyals­ingh said last month.

With the phas­ing out of the chit sys­tem and the prop­er im­ple­men­ta­tion of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem, it is hoped that an­oth­er per­son like Bap­tiste and her fam­i­ly are not left try­ing to source blood do­na­tions while deal­ing with un­prece­dent­ed tragedy.

But the suc­cess of the true vol­un­tary non-re­mu­ner­at­ed blood do­na­tion sys­tem de­pends on us.

Let’s all do what we can to reach that achiev­able tar­get.

While we look to the fu­ture of blood do­na­tion in T&T, we ap­plaud all of those who would have an­swered the call to pro­vide blood for Bap­tiste and oth­ers.

“It is not of­ten that some­one has the op­por­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing sim­ple that can save the life of some­one. How­ev­er, that is ex­act­ly what oc­curs every time some­one do­nates blood. Every blood do­na­tion can help save or im­prove the lives of at least three peo­ple,” Deyals­ingh said last month.