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Blood donations on the go

LIFELINE: The team behind the bloodmobile, including Ian Trenholm, third from left, and High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill, fourth from left, in front of the vehicle now based in Antigua and Barbuda

A BLOODMOBILE donated by NHS Blood and Transplant to Antigua and Barbuda last year is set become operational this month.

The bloodmobile, donated in November, will be used to help establish a blood transfusion service on the islands. The vehicle will be operational seven days a week. This will make a substantial difference to blood donation in Antigua and Barbuda as blood is usually collected on an ‘as needed’ basis. This is the second vehicle that NHS Blood and Transplant have donated to a Caribbean country.

The first bloodmobile donation was to Jamaica in 2015 and this marked the start of an innovative partnership between NHS Blood and Transplant and RAFFA, a diaspora-led charity that brings together governments and local volunteers to help develop healthcare in a number of African and Caribbean countries.

Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, said:

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the difference that this bloodmobile can make to the way we collect blood.

“Working closely with RAFFA, I have been speaking to many people about the importance of blood donation both here and abroad in the hope that more people decide to become blood donors and help save lives.”

Ian Trenholm, CEO at NHS Blood and Transplant said:

“Our aim is to save and improve lives here in the UK. I am delighted to be able to work with the Health Service in Antigua and Barbuda to carry on that mission.

“This bloodmobile has helped save many lives here and I hope that it will go on to do the same in the Caribbean. I hope this partnership also gets people talking about how important it is for black people, both in the UK and in the Caribbean, to give blood.”

Only one per cent of people who donated blood in England during the past year were from black communities. Donors from these communities are more likely to have rare blood types, which can help treat conditions such as sickle cell disease.

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