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 diehard 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
- 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 possibl unidirectional. Flow diagram of donor may be as hereunder;
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 :
- 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.
Blood Donation Camp Premises
The premises used for outdoor donor sessions may often be the only local venue available, but they must be of sufficient size, suitable construction and in an appropriate location to allow proper operation. They must be clean and maintained in accordance with accepted rules of hygiene.
The space required will obviously depend on the number of staff and donors and the rate at which donors arrive. The following activities should be kept in mind when accepting a venue.
- Registration of donors and all other necessary information processing. Wherever possible, there should be easy access to a telephone, preferably within the venue.
- Pre-donation counselling, the medical history and the health check-up to determine donors’ fitness to donate blood. Facilities should be available for confidential discussions between donors and social workers or the medical officer.
- Withdrawal of blood from donors without risk of contamination or errors. Visitors and onlookers should not be allowed to come too close to the bleeding area.
- The social and medical care of donors, including those who suffer
- adverse reactions. Sufficient seating arrangements should be provided for donors and staff, with allowance made for possible queues during busy periods.
- Storage of equipment, reagents and disposable.
Health and Safety
Health and safety factors should be taken into account when selecting venues for outdoor camps. In particular, the following points should be kept in mind:
- The venue should be as close as possible to the centre of population being served. It should be possible for the vehicle to park close to the access doors in order to facilitate the unloading of equipment. The ground to be covered by staff carrying equipment into the building should be even and well-lit, if possible, the space to be used should not require the carrying of equipment on stairs. A similar safe approach to the building should be ensured for donors. Notices should be displayed directing donors to the appropriate entrance to the building and to the room being used.
- The place should be free from dust as far as practicable. Cement floor with appropriate matting would be helpful.
- The furniture and equipment should be arranged within the available space to minimise crowding (for avoiding possibility of mistakes or accidents), enabling privacy and adequate supervision to be maintained and ensuring a smooth and logical work-flow.
- There should be adequate lighting for all the required activities. Wherever possible,there should be provision for the use of emergency lighting in the event of a power-cut. The blood collection team should always carry a hunter’s torch.
- It may not be possible for the collection team to control the temperature, but every effort should be made to ensure that the
- space does not become too hot. too cold or stuffy and must be
- comfortable. There should be arrangement for fans in summer.
- Facilities for providing refreshments for donors and staff should
- be separate from other activities, wherever possible. Every effort should be made to ensure that equipment used in this area does
- not pose a safety hazard.
- Toilet facilities for male and female donors and staff should be available. Separate washing facilities are desirable for staff.
- Adequate facilities should be available for .the safe disposal of waste. Sharp and solid waste should be collected in suitable containers for return to the blood transfusion centre or blood bank and for subsequent safe disposal.
- The premises should be free from vermin.
- Proper arrangements should be made for cold chain maintenance.
Mass Blood Donation Camp
In industrial or commercial houses and educational institutions, facilities for holding blood donation camps may be extended once in a year by suspending their normal activities. If smaller blood banks opt to collect blood according to their need or capacity many willing donors have to be refused. This may send a wrong signal to the community and would certainly make the task of the donor organisers a difficult one. as they would not be able to make such make-shift arrangement for camps again at successive intervals. The organisations may not like to suspend their normal work for the camp in the same year once again.
Camps at such a place organised by massive awareness campaign, particularly when the camp is organised at a central place where donors come individually by availing themselves of public transport, should be planned in a different way as refusal to accept from such donors on account of logistics may affect the blood donation movement to a considerable extent. Besides large scale awareness campaign through electronic or print media is not possible for smaller camps of 20/50 blood donors. The solution lies in bringing in a number of blood bank teams to work side by side under the same roof, each collecting blood according to its respective capacity. Donor screening, registration and donors refreshment corner may be arranged for centrally so also the campaign. There have been such successful mass blood donation camps in the cities like Delhi. Calcutta, Mumbai. Chennai, Surat, Bangalore, and Pune. Some such camps have become regular fixed day camps of over twenty years’ standing. Many donors of these mass donation camps have subsequently become organisers of smaller camps in their place of work or in their locality.
There are three main advantages derived from a mass donation camp. First the resources available with any voluntary agency in India are just not sufficient to sustain a mass awareness campaign round the year .However, a specific campaign can start about three weeks before a mass donation camp and can gradually build up into a crescendo through postering, outdoor hoardings, radio talks, TV. exposures and through the free coverage in the newspapers. The publicity generated leads to increased awareness in general. Secondly, mass camps have a demonstration effect. When one sees so many fellow human beings donating blood, he feels inadequate unless he also donates himself. This is the demonstration effect of peer pressure. The third benefit is that a number of big and’ small blood banks working side by side act as a technical workshop and activate the less active blood banks. This, of course, needs a competent technical supervision.
Mass blood donation camps call for very well coordinated organised efforts between the organisers, the collecting agency and above all, the donors. A well managed mass blood donation camp can motivate the non-donors and a reminder to repeat the act may also become instrumental in ensuring better participation on subsequent occasions.Mass blood donation camps also open up opportunities to involve more blood bank personnel, social organisations and volunteers with the blood donation movement. Such camps may be organised in educational institutions, factories, big offices, banks, social clubs or at central convenient places where donors being motivated through campaign may come individually.Precaution should always be taken so that quality is not sacrificed for the sake of quantity. All technical procedures should be strictly adhered to.
In mass blood donation camp poor turnout due to natural calamity or situation beyond the control of the organisers may frustrate the elaborate arrangement. So the organisers should be pragmatic and not over ambitious while planning such camps.