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Blood Donation Camp

Voluntary blood donation programmes - recruitment and retention are about people and community, about understanding them, capturing their interest and influencing their behaviour. The main communicating task for both blood donor recruitment and retention should be geared towards getting public understanding about the importance and triggering a response for action. Once a blood donor motivator raises awareness, he or she must motivate and persuade people to donate blood. One key secret of successful blood donor recruitment is to take the beds to the donors as close as possible on their convenient date and time rather than expecting the donors to come to the blood bank. The closer the bed to the potential donor, the stronger is the likelihood of success. This is possible only through outdoor blood donation camps. If the camps are held in a relaxed manner, it can be an enjoyable pleasant experience for all concerned. All over the world, most blood from voluntary blood donors is collected from outdoor camps in rural and urban areas.

In Indian context camps can be organised on holidays or in the evening in residential area or locality based socio-cultural organisations not only in cities or towns, but also in suburbs and villages. The people of all ages assemble either on holidays or at the end of day’s or week’s work and the example of adults donating blood would be a strong teaching and demonstration effect for the children. Even die hard determined non-donors may be expected to donate blood someday if the camps become a regular activity in a particular venue. Camps can be organised in educational institutions, industrial and commercial houses throughout the week. Only all these combined efforts would ensure steady flow of blood in the blood banks. A few blood banks have well equipped mobile blood collection vans fitted with everything including beds, doctor’s chair, wash basin, storage refrigerator and even a small refreshment corner with own power generating unit. These vans are quite costly and cannot negotiate through the roads in suburban areas and villages and are not suitable for mass blood donation camps even in camps with 200 donors. Besides, festive mood of the environment and demonstration effect would not be there. So in Indian context, best method is outdoor camps by carrying blood bank personnel and equipment in a vehicle and pitching the camp in a prefixed well ventilated place.

The outdoor camps in India are and will be organised in places faraway from blood banks. So a checklist of blood collection equipment and instruments should be maintained and carefully checked before the departure of the vehicle from the blood bank. Most of the blood collection items cannot be organised locally. Any omission to carry even a small item may frustrate the noble effort of the donor organisers and the donors.

Advantages of collection of blood from camps:

  • Intending donors get opportunity to donate according to their
  • convenience.
  • Familiar faces and known atmosphere help in the shedding of
  • fear complex by the first time donors.
  • Community participation.
  • Recruits new donors.
  • Health status and habits of intending blood donors are known to
  • organisers, quality blood is assured due to self exclusion.
  • Demonstration effect.
  • Convert non-donor to donor.
  • Help in donor retention.

In camp management and organisation, local organisers have scope of using their imagination to convert the area to a festive mood with decoration, light music rather than the silence inside a hospital blood bank.

The motivator should identify a key person amongst the group. In consultation with the key person, motivation session and the date and time of the camp should be fixed up according to the convenience of the donor group.
The proposed camp site should be inspected well in advance with due importance to the following points:

  • Adequacy of the space for anticipated number of donors and on-lookers
  • Lighting and ventilation
  • Electrical outfits
  • Availability of water
  • Toilet facilities
  • Waiting space
  • Donors’ screening space
  • Furniture (tables and chairs)
  • Refreshment space not far away from the donors’ beds
  • Cleanliness of the site.

Movement of the donor in the camp should be as far as possible unidirectional.

On the day of the camp, the chief motivators and the team of volunteers and the blood bank team should reach in time. The donors should be warmly received and guided and escorted through different stages. Presentation of memento, badge, certificate with courtesy and sincerity and answering all queries of donor should be considered as part of donor motivation. The refreshment corner should be well managed and donors should be handled with personal human touch. This being the last point of the camp, it leaves a permanent impression in the mind of the donors. Talking with the donor throughout all the stages is extremely important, as it helps donors to feel wanted and also helps the first time donors to shed their fear.

The donors should be advised to remain in refreshment room for at least 15 minutes and should be advised to increase their water consumption I during the day and refrain from smoking for half an hour.A hearty good-bye with a request to donate again after three months is destined to inspire a donor to become a regular repeat donor.Signs of minor reaction like the following should be handled with tender loving care and compassion:

  • Restlessness
  • Perspiration on forehead
  • Pale colour
  • Lack of willingness to communicate
  • Nervous glances
  • Tendency to faint.

When reaction occurs to a donor, motivator or medico-social work should remain calm and try not to get other donors upset and call in the medical officer-in-charge of the blood collection team, but ensuring the prevention of the donor from falling down. Placing the donor in the bed or floor with a pillow under the feet, helps in subsiding minor reactions. But doctors should check up the donor in all such cases. In case of bleeding from the seal of venipuncture, finger pressure with cotton wool, folding the arm with a cotton wool pad in between and raising the folded hand a little upward helps in stopping such bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, the venipuncture site may be sealed again.

The best motivational efforts may go in vain, in spite of best possible donor recruitment and retention strategies, if the camps are not organised in an efficient manner with active involvement of blood bank team, local organiser and motivators. At every stage, care should be taken so that the donor can leave the area with a good impression with a resolution to come back again.

Donors’ blood cards should be made available to the donors in time directly or through their local organisers. Refreshment should be offered neatly with a friendly gesture and hospitality. The motivators should understand the significance of serving refreshment to keep the donor engaged under the watchful eyes of socio-medical volunteers or the medical officer. The donor should be made to understand that refreshment has nothing to do with immediate recuperation of blood loss due to donation. A piping hot or cold drink and light refreshment are offered to compel the donor to spend some time in a relaxed mood. Whatever be the items of refreshment, they should be served neatly and nicely with a smile.

A well organised camp inspires many onlookers around to become blood donors.