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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Impact of Blood Donation Awareness Campaign by National Service Scheme of Government Medical College, Nanded

Author(s): J.V. Dixit, A.R. Mahale*, A.P. Kulkarni, S.B. Rathod**

Vol. 26, No. 1 (2001-01 - 2001-03)

Deptt. of PSM, *Obs & Gynae, **Dean, Govt. Medical College, Nanded-431601

Abstract:

Research questions: 1. What is the level of voluntary blood donation in college going students? 2. What is the impact of blood donation awareness campaign on voluntary blood donation?

Hypothesis: 1. National service scheme has a legitimate role to play in voluntary blood donation drive. 2. Youth can be motivated for voluntary blood donation by providing them necessary information through IEC campaign.

Objective: To find out the impact of blood donation awareness campaign on voluntary blood donation by college students of Nanded.

Study design: Pre and post campaign intervention study.

Participants: Students and teachers of various colleges of Nanded. Intervention: IEC package including speeches, street plays, poster exhibition and group discussion.

Outcome variables: No. of students donating blood, No. of colleges participating in blood donation, involvement of students from rural areas in campaign.

Statistical analysis: Percentages before and after campaign.

Results: Blood donation awareness campaign resulted in almost six fold increase in voluntary blood donation by college students.

Conclusion: NSS units of medical colleges should start such campaigns for increasing voluntary blood donation in our country.

Keywords : Voluntary blood donation, Impact, Awareness, Campaign, National service scheme

Introduction:

India with a population of about one hundred crores is naturally the country which requires lot of blood to save lives of its citizens. It has been quoted that there is a need of about 8 million units of blood every year in our country1. Out of this, only half that is around 4 million units can be obtained from voluntary blood donors. Rest all comes from replacement blood donation from relatives or paid donors. Mostly it is from paid donors though law has forbidden this. As per the guidelines provided by Govt. of India, blood is to be collected only from voluntary blood donors or relatives of the patient. Acceptance of blood from professional blood donors under any circumstances is strictly prohibited2. The consequences of such blood are catastrophic as it can help in transmission of AIDS or hepatitis B. In general, malpractices in blood transfusion services are due to shortage of blood in the blood banks. Ignorance of people and to some extent their fear and misconcepts regarding blood donation are responsible for this state of affairs. Not many voluntary organizations devote their precious time and resources for motivating people for voluntary blood donation.

National Service Scheme is a central programme run by most of the universities in India. The aim of this scheme can be told in nutshell as "Personality development through social service". The scheme aims at creating social awareness in college students regarding the issues and problems of 'our' people. It gives students the opportunities to work with and for the people to enrich their own lives with lot of practical experience and unending satisfaction. NSS unit of Government Medical College, Nanded is actively involved in various programmes of public health importance such as AIDS awareness, health education in relation to common ailments, helping the patients admitted to Govt. Medical College hospital etc. After analysing the data from blood bank of our hospital some shocking facts emerged. These were:

  • From 1994 to 1997 the amount of blood donated by college students of Nanded per year ranged from 99 to 260 which amounted to around 5 to 8% of total turnover of blood.
  • The total number of college students in Nanded city is more than 30,000.
  • If half of these students are eligible for blood donation then the number of blood units obtained will be 15,000.
  • It means that if only one third of these eligible donors donate blood every year then the entire requirement of blood for Nanded city can be fulfilled.

College students are healthy, enthusiastic and approachable as a group through NSS activities due to existing infrastructure of this programme. These students if 'caught young' are future donors and motivators.

The Campaign:

Philosophy:

NSS has a legitimate role to play in voluntary blood donation drive. College students form a group which number about 30,000 in Nanded. Youth must think seriously about this problem and respond positively. Malpractices in blood transfusion service are as a result of shortage of blood in blood banks. Voluntary blood donation will reduce the risk of blood borne diseases getting transmitted to innocent poor patients. Imparting knowledge to this group will make them most vital motivators.

Situational analysis:

Nanded is a district of Maharashtra. The annual requirement of blood of this place is around 5,000 units. Govt. Medical College caters to the needs of the entire district as it is the referral hospital. The rural and poor people use the services. There are two blood banks in Nanded. Another blood bank is run by India Red Cross Society of Nanded which supplies blood to patients admitted in private nursing homes. The turnover of blood bank of Govt. Medical College is around 3,000 units every year. The proportion of voluntary blood donation is about 15 to 20%. The college students as a group donate less than 300 units of blood every year. There are many instances of malpractices associated with blood transfusion. The aims and objectives included.

  • To create awareness in college students regarding blood donation.
  • To sensitize principals and teachers of colleges regarding voluntary blood donation.
  • To motivate college students for blood donation.
  • To form a network of peer motivators from various colleges.
  • To try and evaluate various strategies for donor motivation.

Material and Methods:

In September 1998 this campaign was initiated. The preparatory activities included:

  • Printing of pamphlets regarding importance of blood donation, blood donation willingness forms, certificates for donors and greeting cards etc.
  • Preparation of 20 posters related to blood, blood donation etc.
  • Orientation of NSS volunteers of the college on the subject.
  • Developing street plays, speeches etc.
  • Communicating these details to programme officers of various colleges and university authorities.

In the months of September and October 1998 blood donation awareness campaign programmes were organised at 12 academic institutions. A typical programme outline was as below:

  • Distribution of pamphlets to students and teachers gathered for the programme.
  • Distribution of blood donation willingness forms to students and teachers gathered for the programme.
  • A speech regarding voluntary blood donation by NSS volunteer.
  • Street play by NSS volunteers.
  • Speech by programme officer regarding blood donation awareness campaign.
  • Question-answer session.
  • Appeal for blood donation and submitting blood donation willingness forms.

The typical programme was of one and a half hours duration. We could collect around 1,500 blood donation willingness forms in this activity. The important message propagated was "Donate blood on your birthday and save a life to make your birth day memorable". This message was appreciated by many students as well as teachers.

Use of Computer: The data of prospective donors was fed to the computer. Lists then could be obtained as per month/college of students who had birthdays in that month. Next activity was to send greeting cards to all 'would be' donors in time i.e. around seven days before the birthday. This painstaking task of writing so many letters was made easy by enthusiastic students and teachers of our college who contributed not only the hard work but also the required money.

Letters were also written to Principals of various colleges providing them the list of their students who had birthdays in that month. This had a dual effect. The student got message from our side and also from their principal or programme officer. Thirdly, the friends of that student also came to know about his or her birthday and the commitment made by them to the blood donation awareness campaign. Some of the students had to give party on their birthday due to our greeting.

Allied activities: One day camps were organised for interested NSS volunteers from various colleges of Nanded to teach them about blood, blood donation and related issues. These camps were highly motivating for the participants. At the end of these one day camps many participants volunteered to donate blood. Moreover, most of these donors have become regular donors and now work as peer motivators in their respective colleges.

Inter-college blood donation competition was another important activity. This resulted in healthy competition between various colleges and increase in voluntary blood donation. This also resulted in involvement of many agencies such as Rotary Club, Newspaper representatives and other influential people in the campaign. From 01/01/99 to 31/12/99 around 1,286 units of blood were collected.

Blood donation awareness campaign in special group was one activity undertaken with the help of police department. In the fifteen days training programme conceived and implemented by the enthusiastic and motivated Superintendent of Police Shri. V.V. Laxminarayan of Nanded, a session was devoted to our campaign. The authors attended 6 such batches and delivered speeches on voluntary blood donation. The results were encouraging. From around 200 participants of this 'Chetna' training camps more than 25 have donated blood.

Media coverage was given to this issue of voluntary blood donation by publishing articles on blood donation. To encourage blood donors, their names were published in popular local dailies. Many newspapers also published some slogans such as "Donate blood-Save lives".

Vehicle was sent to various colleges for bringing donors to blood bank of our college. This activity from 22/8/99 to 21/9/99 had proved very effective as in this month around 181 units of blood were obtained from students of 8 colleges. On one hand it solved the problems of transport of the students and on the other hand it improved participation by various colleges. This activity continued for all months in the next year. This reminds us of the mobile collection centres or "blood buses" as suggested by the World Health Organization's book on blood transfusion services3.

Achievements:

  1. Voluntary blood donation by college students increased from less than 200 per year to 730 in the campaign year i.e. September 1998 to August 1999. In the calendar year 1999 this figure has gone up to 1286.
  2. Number of colleges contributing to voluntary blood donation increased from less than five per year to nineteen in the campaign year.
  3. In four colleges blood donation camps were organised for the first time.
  4. In one of these colleges blood donation camp was organised this year after five unsuccessful attempts by various agencies in last four years.
  5. Number of individuals coming to blood bank and donating blood increased from around 63 per year to 196 in the campaign year and 487 in 1999.
  6. Rate of HIV positivity reduced from 1.75% to 0.75%.
  7. Proportion of voluntary blood donation to the total collection of blood increased from less than 20% to around 52% in the campaign year, and of this half of the rise can be attributed to blood donors from colleges.
  8. A motivated group of teachers has been developed at Govt. Medical College, Nanded.
  9. A Motivated group of student volunteers has developed which contains students from various colleges of Nanded.
  10. Involvement of various other agencies in the filed of voluntary blood donation.
  11. Formation of "Blood Transactions Monitoring" committee at our college to detect any malpractice and to take corrective measures.

Limitations:

  • Less response from arts/commerce/science colleges as compared to professional colleges. Around 60% of blood was obtained from medical and engineering colleges.
  • Lack of initiative from many programme officers as regards blood donation campaign.
  • Neglect from media: print media has unfortunately neglected such novel activity. Very few journalists attended press conference, which was organised to disseminate information regarding this campaign and inter-college blood donation competition.

Suggestions:

Such blood donation campaign can be and should be started by teachers and students of various medical colleges of our country to eliminate the problem of professional blood donors and also to make adequate blood available for needy patients through increase in voluntary blood donation.

Acknowledgement:

Authors on behalf of blood donation awareness campaign acknowledge the authorities and students of various colleges for their active participation, support and guidance to make this campaign successful.

References:

  1. Ghosh A, Basu A. Blood. West Bengal: Voluntary Blood Donors Forum; 1996. p.59.
  2. Govt. of India. Administrative Guidelines for Blood Transfusion Services. New Delhi: Director General Health Services; 1987.
  3. Gibbs WN, Britten AFH. Guidelines for the organization of blood transfusion services. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1992. p.25.
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