Wednesday 1 February 2017: Emma Sloan: NI Blood Transfusion Service
Emma’s talk to Probus was full of interesting facts about blood donation in Northern Ireland, one of which is that Omagh has more blood donors than any other town in the Province. In the immediate aftermath of the Omagh Bomb hundreds of local people contacted the NI Blood Transfusion Service to offer blood. Since then blood donation sessions in Omagh have been particularly well supported as have sessions in nearby towns and villages, including Fintona, Dromore, Plumbridge and Greencastle. Throughout the Province only 6% of the eligible population gives blood and some 8000 new donors are needed each year to maintain stocks. Last year 26.000 people in Northern Ireland needed a blood transfusion, requiring a steady supply 1500 units per week. In her capacity as Marketing Manager for the Service Emma was keen to dispel any anxieties people might have about giving blood. New donors are carefully screened to make sure they are fit to give blood and thereafter monitored session by session. A number of those in her audience had given blood for many years and testified to how easy it was and how important it was. Among other facts to emerge from her talk were that most of the blood donors in the Omagh area fall into the 17 – 25 age group and that 44% of the population of Northern Ireland are in the blood group “O” positive, a trait apparently inherited from Viking ancestors.