News Releases

All types accepted | UWI Blood Donor Foundation celebrates World Blood Donor Day

For Release Upon Receipt - June 10, 2016

St. Augustine

Since 2005, World Blood Donor Day has been celebrated on June 14 as a day to recognise voluntary blood donors and to raise awareness.

The University of the West Indies Blood Donor Foundation (UWIBDF) was launched in 2003 in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the St. Augustine Campus of The UWI. Its goal is to promote VNRD (those who donate voluntarily to the national supply receiving no payment in cash or kind) through research, education and example. Since its launch several surveys of what people’s knowledge, beliefs, fears and blood donation practice have been done in the community and in the medical school. 

Most of the persons surveyed are willing to donate blood but need more information, mainly about who can and who should not donate. Donors should be aged 18-65 (17 with parental consent) and weigh more than 110 pounds for their own safety. Persons with diabetes and hypertension may donate if their conditions are well controlled and they are not on insulin. Many, including medical students believe that infections such as HIV could be caught from donating blood. This is, of course, untrue since sterile equipment is used and not reused in the blood donation process.

The UWIBDF has initiated a VNRD programme in collaboration with the North Central Health Authority since 2015. Four sessions have been held at the Mount Hope donation centre collecting 15 then 22 then 69 then 73 units of blood for persons in need. Donors have included students, parents, laboratory workers, and voluntary groups. Donations are co-ordinated by an efficient appointment system and pre-event publicity by social media. Our donors receive neither a chit for a specific person nor a credit to reclaim blood in the future. It is what our region needs and what PAHO has asked of us.

The theme of World Blood Donor Day is Blood connects us all. The UWIBDF has connected young people, the communities, patients, relatives and future healthcare professionals in a way that will benefit us all. Their 5th Voluntary Blood Drive at Mount Hope Blood Donation Centre on Saturday July 9, 2016 from 9am to 4.30pm. There will be no line or wait for donors and you can pre-register by visiting the UWI Blood Donor Foundation Facebook Page, their website: or contact the UWIBDF Chair, Dr. Kenneth Charles at




There are three main types of blood donor; family replacement (F/R) donors who donate at the request of health institutions for specific patients, remunerated blood donors who receive payment in cash or kind for their donation and VNRD who donate voluntarily to the national supply receiving no payment in cash or kind. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) recommend that blood be collected from only VNRD for enough of the safest blood to be available for a country’s needs and for it to be equally available, even for those who have no relatives or who need repeated transfusions. Donors who have the right to reclaim their donations are therefore remunerated donors and this, along with F/R donation is discouraged.

Why is a supply from VNRD safer and more reliable? Typically F/R donors do not donate at any time other than when a family member or friend I in need rather than 2-3 times per year which they could safely do. Like remunerated donors, pressure to donate makes them more likely than VNRD to hide information that should disqualify them from donating. VNRD have no such pressure and have no reason to hide personal information. They are more likely to donate repeatedly, increasing the nation’s blood stock.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)