International American University, in collaboration with St. Jude Hospital, celebrated World Blood Donor Day with a blood drive, attracting many of St. Lucia’s southern residents.
Representatives from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), St. Jude and the St. Lucia Red Cross, were present for the event at the school’s compound at Beanfield, Vieux-Fort.
This year’s campaign, “Thank You for Saving My Life,” is aimed at thanking blood donors who donate blood regularly and encouraging others to do the same.
Valarie Beach-Horne, country program specialist of PAHO said, “Transfusion of blood and blood products helps to save lives. Blood transfusion can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer and with a higher quality of life. Blood donation also supports complex medical and surgical procedures, and has an essential life-saving role in maternal and child care, and during man- made and natural disasters.”
She said the ideal situation is for 100% of donation of blood to come from volunteers.
Beach-Horne added, “In recent years, some Caribbean countries including St. Lucia, have shown a significant improvement in the increase of voluntary non remunerated donors. However, of the 41 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, only 12 have achieved this benchmark.”
She said PAHO and its member states are working diligently to improve universal access to safe blood through the new Regional Plan of Action of 2014.
Terrencia Gaillard, director general of St Lucia Red Cross, said, “The Red Cross has encouraged young people to donate blood, citing that over the years, there has been a commendable increase in blood donation by young people.”
She thanked IAU for undertaking such an initiative, saying it has helped save lives.
“Because of your effort there is always blood at St. Jude Hospital.”
Those who gave blood said they were happy to do so as they realized the importance of the event.
Meeting with success is no stranger to this event, as in the past, the blood drive has garnered 63 units of blood, the largest amount of donations in a single island event.
Sibi Gopalakrishna, IAU public relations officer, said he was very pleased with the level of support the public demonstrated during the blood drive.
“The event has always been a success and it is getting bigger and better every year.”
Gopalakrishna said the school sees itself not only as a learning institution, but also a partner in the development of the country.
“We see ourselves as an integral part of the community and we have demonstrated this in many ways.”
Donors were entered into a drawing for a chance to win a dinner for two at The Landings in Rodney Bay, lunch for two at Spice of India at Rodney Bay and tickets to watch the St. Lucia Zouks play at the Caribbean Cricket Premiere League.
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