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Donating Blood


Our health system relies on a continuous supply of blood from volunteer donors, and there is often a shortage.  Donating blood is safe, easy and essential for the health of our nation - it may even save the life of someone you care about.  The National Blood Transfusion Service collects, screens and distributes a safe, adequate supply of blood and blood components (such as plasma, red blood cells, and platelets).  Please note that O Positive is the most common blood type, with AB Negative being the rarest.




Who can donate blood?

Blood can be donated by anyone meeting the criteria listed in the “Health criteria for donating blood” section below.

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How do I donate blood?

The following steps are involved in donating blood:  

  • Refer to the criteria listed below to ensure that you can donate blood.
  • Visit any of the collection centres of the National Blood Transfusion Service.  Collection centre locations are listed in the “Where can I donate blood?” section below.
  • You will be asked to fill out a Registration Form and an interview will be conducted.  For your own safety, you will be asked for information on your medical history and a mini-medical examination (weight, height, iron level, blood pressure, pulse, temperature) will be done.
  • If you are selected to make a donation, your blood will be tested for certain infections before use, including HIV, viral hepatitis B and C, HTLV1, syphilis and Chagas' disease. You will be notified in the event of a positive result for any of these tests.  Your blood is also tested for haemoglobin concentration (commonly referred to as blood count) — the minimum blood count level for men is 13.5 and 12.5 for women.
  • A nurse (trained phlebotomist) will draw your blood.
  • There is a 15 minute mandatory rest period after giving blood before you are allowed to leave the centre.

Please note that all blood is tested before it is used.  The entire donation process usually takes approximately two hours.  Regular voluntary donors are placed at the front of the queue for medical examination and withdrawal of blood and can complete the process in approximately 45 minutes.

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How do I become a regular blood donor?

Simply tell the nurse during the interview that you would like to become a regular blood donor and he or she will open a file.  Being a regular blood donor lets you donate blood faster, and donating blood actually improves the health of your heart. 

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Health criteria for donating blood

These guidelines are designed to ensure that blood recipients are protected from potentially harmful blood products, and that blood donors are protected from harm.  Only people in good health are accepted as blood donors.

 

For your own safety, you should NOT give blood if:

 

  • You have been prescribed medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, fits or asthma.
  • You are a pilot or in any other service aircrew occupation.
  • You have an occupation where a delayed faint from donating blood could cause a hazard (such as a bus driver, heavy machine operator, etc.) UNLESS you will be off-duty immediately after your donation.

 

For the safety of others, you should NOT give blood if:

 

  • You or your sexual partner (past or present) has AIDS or tested positive for HIV.
  • You are a man who has had sex with another man.
  • You have ever accepted payment for sex.
  • You have multiple sex partners.
  • You carry the hepatitis B or C virus.
  • You have ever injected drugs not prescribed by a doctor.
  • You are a haemophiliac who has received treatment with clotting factor concentrate.
  • You think you need an HIV test.
  • You weigh less than 50kg.
  • You have donated blood within the previous 16 weeks.
  • You have donated blood three times in the previous year.
  • You are pregnant.

 

You should not give blood for ONE YEAR if you have had sex with:

 

  • A man who has had sex with a man (if you are a woman).
  • A prostitute.
  • A haemophiliac who has been treated with clotting factor concentrate.
  • A carrier of hepatitis B or C.
  • A person who has injected drugs not prescribed by a doctor.

 

or if you:

 

  • Injured yourself with a needle or other sharp object contaminated with blood of another person.
  • Had acupuncture, tattooing, ear or skin-piercing, tissue or hair transplantation.

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Where can I donate blood?

Blood can be donated at the following locations.  Please note that donors are not accepted after 3:00 pm.

 

National Blood Transfusion Service

160 Charlotte Street

Port of Spain

Trinidad

Tel. (868) 627-2619, 623-8204

Fax. (868) 623-3523

Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays

 

The Blood Bank

Building 1

Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex

Uriah Butler Highway

Champs Fleurs

Trinidad

Tel. (868) 645-2640 Ext 2008

Fax. (868) 663-4673

Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays

 

The Blood Bank

San Fernando General Hospital

Independence Avenue

San Fernando

Trinidad

Tel. (868) 652-1121

Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays

 

The Blood Bank

Tobago Regional Hospital

Fort Street

Scarborough

Tobago

Tel. (868) 639-2551

Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays

 

The National Blood Transfusion Service also has a mobile unit that selects business places (that have at least 20 willing possible donors) to visit for the purpose of collecting blood from voluntary donors.  Please contact the National Blood Transfusion Service at the address above to schedule a visit from the mobile unit.

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Where can I find more information?

For more information, please contact one of the offices listed above, or the Ministry of Health.

 

Ministry of Health

Cor Park and Edward Streets

Port of Spain

Trinidad

Tel. (868) 627-0010

Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays

Ministry of Health

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