NBTS capacity boosted with Apheresis machine

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

In an effort to boost the service capacity within the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) department, the Ministry of Public Health, on Tuesday, commissioned a US$94,000, Trima Accel-Automated Blood Collection System also known as an Apheresis.

This system uses a centrifuge to separate whole blood into its components such as platelets, plasma, and red blood cells (RBCs) based on customer-configured priorities and the donor’s physiology and blood count. Geared with safety measures to protect the patient and blood, it also allows the blood donation to have a seven-day shelf life.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.

Delivering remarks, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence said that the purchase of the equipment is another step taken by the Ministry towards the improvement of healthcare services to the nation.

“The expenditure used by the ministry has been done in a manner that will not only save lives and bring about efficiency within the health service, particularly the blood bank but will help us (ministry) have a safer quality, larger amount and it will increase the speed in which we can attend to our peoples’ needs,” Minister Lawrence explained.

She stressed that this initiative will also allow the NBTS department to fulfill the requests made by health centres throughout the country to attend to their patients in a timely manner.

Minister within Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said this step by the ministry will both increase the quality and quantity of blood donations.

“The addition of this new apheresis machine will undoubtedly serve to boost the capacity of NBTS. Using an apheresis machine gives a higher volume of concentrated plasma or platelets from each donation. Although in our laboratory we can separate plasma, platelets from whole blood…the apheresis produces more plasma or platelets for patients in need,” Dr. Cummings noted. She said that this will greatly assist patients who need large transfusions of blood.

Director of NBTS, Dr. Pedro Lewis said the Department’s 12 members of staff are undertaking a three-day workshop, to learn how to use the Apheresis, conducted by representatives of the Puerto Rico-based company IslaLab. The company and the Ministry of Public health have also reached an agreement to have Isla Lab provide maintenance twice yearly.

Dr. Lewis noted that the equipment will not only become a time-saver for the patients but the doctors who would be able to attend to other patients. He urged citizens to donate blood since it will benefit the patients in need.

A view of the Trima Accel – Automated Blood Collection System.

Minister within Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.


By: Neola Damon


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