Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has assured that Tobago’s blood shortage issue will be dealt with very soon.
His assurance at Saturday’s covid19 media briefing, comes on the heels of statements by Scarborough General Hospital Medical Chief of Staff Dr Victor Wheeler last week, who said that the blood supply on the sister isle was critically low.
Deyalsingh said the shortage was as a result of the hospital not carrying out its normal voluntary blood drive.
However, he said on Friday the authorities in Tobago had conducted a voluntary blood drive, which was very successful.
He said the ministry is also in the process of hiring a national director for the National Blood Transfusion Centre, and the mandate would be to convert the chit system to a voluntary system.
According to Deyalsingh “We are setting up a national altruistic, totally voluntary, non-remunerated blood donation programme, as opposed to the current chit system, which can be considered as giving blood and getting a reward in return, in that it will be assigned to a relative or friend. We have worked out how many people we need to have on that database that if they give blood two to three times a year, how many pints of blood we will collect in any one year.”
Deyalsingh also said the North West Regional Health Authority had started voluntary blood drives to boost its database.
Between January 2019 to July 2019, a total of 11,228 pints of blood were collected, while 11,007 pints of blood were collected during the same period this year.
The minister said the virus had not adversely impacted the numbers of pints of blood collected during the period from January to July 2020.