The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is currently developing a five-year strategic plan, aimed at boosting its intake of blood from donors to at least 50,000 units per annum.The NBTS, also known as the Blood Bank, is the central public health institution responsible for collecting, storing and allocating blood, based on medical needs.Former NBTS Director, Dr. Lundie Richards, who currently has technical oversight for the entity, told JIS News that work on the plan is currently being finalized, and expressed the hope that it will be ready for implementation by the second quarter of 2013.Dr. Richards, who is currently Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, which is also based on Slipe Pen Road in Kingston, noted that while the daily requirement for blood averages between 300 and 500 units, collections by the NBTS and other public health institutions, designated as collection centres, such as the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), total a mere 150 and 200 units per day “on a good day.” In light of this, he stressed that central to addressing this anomaly will be increasing the number of voluntary blood donors, adding that this will be comprehensively addressed in the strategic plan. Dr. Richards pointed out that the plan in being developed in partnership with the institution’s various private and public sector stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).Work on enhancing the Blood Bank’s capacity has already commenced with the recent acquisition of a refrigerator to store blood, at a cost of $1.5 million, with funds provided by the National Health Fund (NHF). This has boosted the bank’s storage capacity from 500 units to over 1,300.Meanwhile, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has underscored the need to provide the NBTS with the support necessary to implement strategies that will boost voluntary donations.During a recent tour of the National Public Health Laboratory, Dr. Ferguson said increasing the number of voluntary blood donors would ensure that adequate supplies are in place. “The idea of persons just coming at a time when they have loved ones (in need of blood) is not ideal. We really want to develop this system of voluntary blood donations, and this has to get some support,” the Minister said.He cited, for example, the setting up of mobile clinics, so that persons across the island could volunteer and donate blood.Dr. Ferguson toured the National Public Health Laboratory and the Blood Bank after $60 million worth of refurbishing and upgrading work were completed at the two facilities. The repairs were funded by the National Health Fund.
Students and teachers of the St. Paul’s United Church Early Childhood Institution now have access to modern facilities, following a $45. 3-million rebuilding project carried out by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). Students and teachers of the St. Paul’s United Church Early Childhood Institution now have access to modern facilities, following a $45. 3-million rebuilding project carried out by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).Implemented under the European Union (EU)-funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP-IV), the project included construction of a four-classroom block, kitchen and eating area, sickbay, bathrooms, principal’s office, storage area, a paved parking lot, ramps for wheelchair access, and chain-link perimeter fence.Additionally, the school was furnished with appropriate desks and chairs for students and teachers, cupboards and cabinets, kitchen appliances and safety equipment.The project, which was carried out over the period October 2015 to July 2016, replaces the original structure, built in 1980, but which was demolished in 2010 due to heavy termite infestation and the need for complete electrical rewiring.Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, in his address at the official opening ceremony held on June 7 at the institution’s Lockett Avenue address in Kingston, said the agency remains committed to the continued development of the early-childhood education sector.He informed that since the entity’s inception in 1996, it has spent close to $4 billion on the construction and upgrading of institutions across the island. The sum, he said, is more than 40 per cent of the entity’s budget.“We have done this through partnerships with financial donors like the EU, which has been a partner with the Government of Jamaica for the last 40 years and with JSIF since 2003. I look forward to seeing this school grow from strength to strength,” he said.Senior Education Officer, Molly Russell, who brought greetings on behalf of Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, commended JSIF for its contribution to early-childhood education.“We thank all the contributors for the realisation of this project. Let us continue to work together to mould these young minds so they can take their rightful place in society,” she said.Head of Operations for the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Achim Schaffert, said the project is an example of the positive, tangible impact that the PRP is having on Jamaica.“The PRP is a major programme, which the EU signed with the Government of Jamaica, with a focus on assisting vulnerable communities to alleviate poverty and improve living conditions. It is one of the EU’s most comprehensive programmes impacting communities in the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James,” he noted.Implemented in November 2014, PRP is a 48-month programme of assistance, which is being undertaken at a cost of Euros $12.54 million. It is scheduled to end in November 2018.PRP-IV is focused on governance, physical transformation, socio-economic development, and youth-development initiatives.This is in line with the Government’s Community Renewal Programme (CRP), which is designed to serve as the platform for service delivery to enhance social transformation, strengthen governance and reduce crime and violence in volatile and vulnerable communities.The opening ceremony was attended by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, as well as representatives from JSIF, the EU, Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and the school Board. Senior Education Officer, Molly Russell, who brought greetings on behalf of Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, commended JSIF for its contribution to early-childhood education. Story Highlights Implemented under the European Union (EU)-funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP-IV), the project included construction of a four-classroom block, kitchen and eating area, sickbay, bathrooms, principal’s office, storage area, a paved parking lot, ramps for wheelchair access, and chain-link perimeter fence.