Police join Red Cross Seychelles’ blood donation database |02 March 2023
Nineteen officers from the Seychelles Police converged at the headquarters of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) at Providence on Tuesday morning to take part in a blood donation exercise organised by the two organisations.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, RCSS’ secretary general, Marie-May Esparon, said this was in line with a new system introduced last year to encourage employees from large companies to become blood donors.
“The large companies will have enough donors that will be placed in the RCSS database, so we can ensure that throughout the year we will have people donating blood and enough blood in the hospital’s blood bank at any given time,” explained Ms Esparon.
Four Seasons Seychelles was the first big company to join the initiative last year and the Seychelles Police is the second organisation to donate towards the noble cause aimed at saving lives.
“The police are used to giving blood but the officers will now be registered into our database so we will know exactly how many blood donors we have. Of course we work closely with the blood transfusion unit,” said Ms Esparon.
According to the police department, most of the officers donating on Tuesday were regular donors, although there were also new recruits from the Seychelles Police Academy who were first time donors.
Sergeant Jeanine Maria, the police’s occupational health and safety officer coordinating the exercise, said the force holds regular blood donation exercises either on Police day or in partnership with other organisations such as the Seychelles National Youth Council on other occasions.
The force presently has over 80 regular donors. “We were supposed to have more officers today but some are unable to come because of other commitments and also we have some officers who donated last year and their month is not yet due,” explained Sergeant Maria.
Yesterday’s blood donation was also for a special cause as it would go towards a patient currently in the Intensive Care Unit and a man who will soon undergo surgery.
The first to give blood was sub-inspector Audrey Ah-Kong, who was participating for the second time after donating in September last year on the occasion of Police day.
“I have decided to become a regular donor and this time around I also have a family member who is undergoing surgery so I thought I would do this noble gesture. Blood saves lives and I could be saving more than one life. It is also my way of helping the hospital’s blood bank, where there is always a high demand,” said sub-inspector Ah-Kong.
For his part, Corporal Tony Juliette, from the Prison Services, has donated 15 times. “I decided to do it because I wanted to save lives and I have been at it for a while now. I always respond when there is a request and I am sometimes approached for specific cases for example if a person is in the ICU,” he said.
The new donors, some of whom seemed visibly nervous, also wanted to do their part. Eighteen-year-old Hector Esparon from the Seychelles Police Academy described the experience as an interesting one and said he will definitely become a regular donor.
“It went well and you actually feel a minor pain at the beginning with the prick of the needle but after that it runs smoothly and I would not mind doing it again,” said Esparon.
He was among five other recruits who had come forward. His colleague, 19-year-old Benjamin Sedwick, who confessed he was scared of needles, said he was apprehensive when he was approached.
“But sometimes in life you need to man up and help those in need because you never know what might happen to you as well in the future, so I am here and I feel good doing this,” said Sedwick.
For her part, Sergeant Ariana Ah-Kong, from the statistics unit who was also a first time donor, said there are always requests for them to do their part to save lives but she has refrained from coming forward as she was nervous about the whole procedure. After yesterday’s exercise, Sergeant Ah-Kong described it as more relaxed than she would have expected.
“I will definitely come back like our police motto, ‘service without fear’, and this is how we show it, by giving back to the community,” she stated.
Sergeant Maria said the police was grateful to all its present and past donors, some of whom have been donating blood for several years, and would like to thank them for their gesture by eventually presenting them with a token of appreciation and recognising them for their contribution.
Meanwhile RCSS said it will be meeting with other workplaces soon to advise them about the new system, and how they could play their part to save lives in the country.
“We need to work on a calendar together with the blood transfusion unit so that we have specific dates for giving blood. As it is now although we have big companies wanting to donate anytime during the year, the disadvantage is that at times you have a lot of people giving blood and sometimes you have fewer,” explained Ms Esparon.
She added that with the new system, there will be companies donating at a specific time, allowing their workers to give blood three or four month’s times annually.
“These are measures we want to put in place, together with the Ministry of Health to ensure that when a person needs blood and they reach the hospital he or she does not have to be turned away. We also want to discourage family replacement and encourage people to donate blood at least every three or four months,” said Ms Esparon.
The organisation is also considering working with schools to get students who are aged 15 plus to become donors, with their parents’ consent.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the blood donation exercise on Tuesday.
Photos contributed by the police and the RCCS