Blood Bank sets up online appointment system

THE National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) now has an online appointment system to coordinate its blood drive activities.

Medical doctor and blood donor organiser at the NBTS Dr Dania Levy said the online system is one of several measures put in place to facilitate social distancing.

She was speaking with JIS News at the World Blood Donor Day awards ceremony held on Monday at the NBTS’s Slipe Pen Road address in Kingston.

“You can visit our website at nbts.gov.jm and click on the tab for appointment pre-registration. We still welcome walk-ins so if you are unable to make an appointment you can still come in,” she advised.

“We specifically ask for persons who intend to participate in blood drives to set appointments and pre-register for the purpose of crowd control and social distancing,” she added.

Dr Levy said the appointment system coordinates all of the NBTS’s collection centres islandwide. These are NBTS (Blood Bank), Kingston; Cornwall Regional Hospital, St James; Falmouth Hospital, Trelawny; Kiwanis Blood Collection Centre, National Chest Hospital, St Andrew; Mandeville Hospital, Manchester; May Pen Hospital, Clarendon; Port Antonio Hospital, Portland; Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, Westmoreland; St Ann’s Bay Hospital, St Ann; and University Hospital of the West Indies, St Andrew.

She said that individuals and institutions interested in hosting their own blood drives can contact the NBTS for assistance.

“We will create a link for their blood drive individually. They can spread the word to their friends so they can make an appointment to pre-register,” she noted.

People interested in donating to the NBTS should be between 17 and 60 years old.

“If you are 16 and would like to donate, you can do so with parental consent. If you are a regular donor, which means you donate two times per year and you’ve reached 60, we will allow you to keep donating up to 65 years,” Dr Levy explained.

Individuals must meet the minimum weight requirement of 110 pounds and have had no tattoos or piercings done in the previous year.

Also, people with non-communicable diseases who wish to donate, must have these conditions controlled. Individuals with diabetes who are not taking insulin and are only on oral medication are able to donate.

Dr Levy reminded donors to eat a healthy meal within three hours of giving blood.

“Don’t eat anything too fatty, as it is not easily digested, and remember to hydrate before you come in and continue hydrating after you have donated,” she advised.

The NBTS is responsible for collection, testing and distribution of all blood and its by-products across Jamaica.

People interested in donating blood are encouraged to visit the NBTS website at nbts.gov.jm or telephone (876) 630-1984.

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