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Blood needs rise after pandemic

Saturday 15 June 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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Blood needs rise after pandemic
Cook Islands Red Cross team at Terevete Park celebrating the 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day yesterday. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/24061404

Giving blood is a sign of solidarity and saves lives, says Cook Islands Red Cross secretary general Fine Tu’itupou-Arnold.

The Cook Islands Red Cross yesterday celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, and Tu’itupou-Arnold says the need for blood has increased since the Covid pandemic.

She said the Red Cross helps hospitals with recruiting blood donors and some have their own blood banks. Cook Islands Red Cross supports Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health in the recruitment of blood donors.

“Recently the need for blood has increased, ever since Covid. And I think one of the reasons is that people are now more aware of their health issues.”

Tu’itupou-Arnold says screening is more robust now and they have blood drives three to four times a month, around four to five donors each time and also depending on the blood group type needed or if it is an urgent blood drive.

Tu’itupou-Arnold says they now have more robust screening procedures. They hold blood drives three to four times a month, and around four to five people each time. The number of donors can also vary depending on the specific blood type needed or if it’s an urgent blood drive.

There are about 250 blood donors in the Cook Islands and the Red Cross hopes to recruit new donors.

“We always in demand of new blood donors because even though there’s 250 on our list, they’re not all available, and you can’t donate blood every week, you have to have a downtime before you donate blood.”

Tu’itupou-Arnold adds there are very few people on the island with the rare blood type O negative and the Red Cross keeps in touch with them to ensure their availability for urgent calls or regular blood drives.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s event was also to thank blood donors for always answering the call to donate blood when needed.

“When you give blood, you save lives. Giving blood is a sign of solidarity. You’re saving someone who is desperate to live. Blood is precious.”

Cook Islands Red Cross acknowledged everyone who has supported the blood donor recruitment programme.