In the last article I talked of how the shortage is seemingly very little. Also, how our main focus is primarily, on how to get that last two percent of people to donate.
Now you can probably understand why this is really not as easy as it sounds. But we have been over that before, and I am not really a rambler. Today I want to tell you how we go about this. How we, as an organization, try to dismantle the stereotypes that people hold in their minds; things they have heard, things they have been told, or maybe just a general lack of awareness. In our past six years we have gained a few, lost a few. But what lies below is what we have learned till now.
The issue of blood shortage is manifold, in the sense that there are several avenues through which we can work.
In order to make sure that no life is lost for want of blood, we at Blood connect provide a 360 degree solution to the problem.
BloodConnect conducts blood donation camps in various cities (usually in colleges, corporates, or RWAs) across India in association with government blood banks. Blood camps work mainly because they save the donor a trip to the blood bank.
But, there are several other NGOs that do that.
What we do differently, is that we innovate camps by making them themebased, using social media and by dis-incentivising donation, making it voluntary. Theme-based camps work because from the point of view of a donor, each camp is different. Every time they visit a camp, the music is different, the posters are different, even our mementos are different. Also for our selfie obsessed junta, you can imagine that it will be very difficult fro them to take a selfie while they are donating blood, and I think that is primarily because they don’t really allow you to move that much. So in addition, to enhance donor experience we have photo booths where they can get themselves clicked.
At the camps we have a team of doctors who check if the donor is healthy enough to donate blood. To ensure the safety of both the donor and the recipient, donors’ health history is discussed as a part of the donation process before any blood is collected. Each donor undergoes s a brief examination during which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin (or hematocrit) are measured. After this procedure, if found healthy, 1 unit (around 350mL of blood) is collected from the donor.
We also improve awareness about blood donation by organizing Street Plays, Info-Talks, Competitions, presentations, and interactive activities wherein we talk about the myths and facts associated with blood donation. This is a very important part of our working, because a vast majority of people who do not donate blood are actually not even aware that such a thing is absolutely doable.
For people who require blood urgently, we have a 24×7 student run helpline with the sole aim of helping those in dire need of blood. The way this works, is that we have a database of donors who are willing to donate in such emergency situations (if there is a shortage in their area of residence/work). When we receive a request for blood, we run through this database and try to look for a donor.
The Helpline department, in fact, is the most basic, and I am going to take the liberty of saying: the most essential part of our organization, given that is actually how BloodConnect started. It targets the need for blood at the grass-root level- where we provide blood directly to those who need it.
These are broadly the three areas in which we work. We call them ‘ground level activities’, because that is exactly what they are. They target the problem right where it exists. The lack of awareness, shortage in blood banks, and urgent requirements in hospitals.
This way we have established a network of youth across the country to assist in the movement.
Hang on for the next post, comes on 30th April!