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Op-Ed: PRCCI supports blood collection efforts in Puerto Rico

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The pandemic has impacted everyone’s life, including blood availability in Puerto Rico. According to Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation, a subsidiary of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust, thousands of people need blood every day.

Last year, PRCCI joined forces with the three blood banks in Puerto Rico — Mutual Services Blood Bank, the Puerto Rico Blood Bank in Ponce, and the Puerto Rico Blood Bank in Río Piedras — to boost blood supplies through an initiative named “We carry it in our blood.”

“We need to do more to continue saving lives, including promoting a culture of continuous blood donations to keep optimum supply levels and meet the local demand in a sustained way,” said Amarilys Silva-Boschetti, executive director of the PRCCI.

“When you donate a pint of blood you could be saving up to three lives,” said Silva-Boschetti.

PRCCI estimates that blood supplies on the island are back to summer of 2020 levels, with an average availability of 52%, as confirmed by the Mutual Services Blood Bank and the Puerto Rico Blood Bank as of May 2021.

Gerardo Latoni, Mutual Services Blood Bank medical director, said controls set up as a result of the pandemic such as capacity restrictions in closed workplaces, no-communal activities in municipalities, and closings of universities and colleges affected blood collections.

Ada V. Cartagena, supervisor of the Puerto Rico Blood Bank in Ponce, pointed to difficulties in times of COVID-19 such as the fear of contagion (despite the COVID-19 vaccine) and strict measures established by the blood banks to protect donors and personnel from potential contagion.

Blood products are essential for treatments and for the continuous local medical-scientific development that promotes research in therapeutic areas such as oncology, inflammation, cardio-metabolic illnesses, neurosciences, vaccinations and respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, among others, bringing new treatment options and wellbeing for the benefit of patients in Puerto Rico, Silva-Boschetti said.

Requirements to donate
While donors can show up and easily donate at blood donation events, it is recommended to make an appointment with the blood bank.

To donate please present an I.D. with photo, be older than 16 years of age and fill out a questionnaire. Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 17 require a written authorization from their parents and should check the respective blood banks. Eating and drinking liquids is recommended before donating.

Contact Mutual Services Blood Bank via email or call 787-751-6115 for appointments. Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Blood Bank may be reached via email, service@prblood.com or call 787-651-1880. Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Blood Bank may be reached by calling 787-777-3844.

Join this effort to save lives and create awareness about the importance of collecting blood and its components for the benefit of everyone in Puerto Rico. For more information on the work done by PRCCI, visit its website.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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