Some fifteen employees of Hôpital Saint-Damien came to the aid of patients through a blood drive organized on May 31 at the hospital’s conference room. This initiative was organized by the hospital’s management in partnership with the Centre national de transfusion sanguine (CNTS) in Haiti.
The blood is to be used, if necessary, for the hospital’s pregnant women and children. Employees rushed to give this gift of love to patients, despite the announcement having been made a week earlier.
“I appreciate the initiative and was very happy to participate. I’m proud to have helped save a life through a simple gesture. I hope to take part in the next collection and that many employees will too,” said Géraldina Avril, Administrative Officer in Human Resources.
The hospital’s management wants to repeat this charitable activity every four months. “Blood donation is very important for saving lives. It’s encouraging to see that we’ve been able to raise awareness despite the cultural taboos that hinder blood donation in Haiti”, said Pascale Yola Gassant, the hospital’s Executive Director.
Géraldina admits that she was reluctant to give blood. She was persuaded by the false beliefs circulating around blood transfusion in Haiti. “But colleagues finally convinced me of this dignified act,” she says.
According to Dr. Gassant, “It was also an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation and to break the cultural taboos that hinder blood donation in Haiti.” She hopes that the next blood drive day will be more successful, and that more people will be encouraged to give blood to save lives.
The hospital’s management hopes to continue raising awareness of the importance of blood donation, and to break the cultural taboos that hinder the practice in Haiti. The Centre national de transfusion sanguine (CNTS), Haiti’s only blood collection agency, receives between 75,000 and 80,000 requests for blood every year, but has difficulty satisfying 30,000 of them due to the low number of donors. This situation all too often doubles the suffering of the sick and their families.