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World Blood Donor Day 2024

HighlightsWorld Blood Donor Day 2024

Photo: Person donating blood

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 17, 2024

Belize and the globe recognized Friday, June 14, as World Blood Donor Day, which was established 20 years ago, under the theme, “20 years of celebrating giving: Thank you, blood donors!”

In Belize City, a blood drive was done at the Belize Diagnostic Center in the Kings Park area along with several health volunteer organizations.

“It’s an important part of the health care system. There are instances where persons who need medical attention may need blood transfusions or various products from whole blood. So, if we are to have those persons to restore their health when needed, we have to have donors. So, there’s no substitute for blood, human blood, and for us to get those units it either is received by replacement donors, persons who are coming to give on behalf of that patient, or those patients or volunteer donors who do so simply because they are able to do it,” said Ronald Stuart, the interim president of the Belize Voluntary Blood Donors Association.

According to Stuart, approximately 7,000 units were collected; if a single person donates blood four times a year, that would work out to be an estimated 2% of Belize’s population, and is very low.

“A conversation that many people should have is, ‘Do you have three to five donors available, should you need a blood transfusion?’ A lot of times people do not think about the need when it’s not necessary. But, when it is necessary, they would be looking to the public at large. So, if we were to develop a system where we have 100 % volunteer donations, that would be a thing of the past, where you have to have appeals coming from individuals or families for their relatives,” he said.

Stuart noted that the O-Negative blood type is considered the Universal Donor. However, persons with this blood type (O-Negative) can only receive blood from the same group, making it the smallest blood group worldwide.

If there are persons who want to be a regular donor, several requirements will need to be met: They must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be free of any infectious health conditions.

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