FEMALE BLOOD DONORS: ALLEVIATING THE RESISTANCE OF THE COMMUNITY


Soumya and her friends are happy today, because they have witnessed the withdrawal of community notions on female blood donation. A huge number of girls and women donated their blood voluntarily during a blood donation camp conducted at Kannur District of Kerala organized as part of the ‘World Blood Donors Day – 2010 by Kerala State AIDS Control Society. ‘We were eager to donate blood, but our parents and friends were always discouraging us with irrational reasons’ says Ashily, the gang leader of girls who came from a professional college to donate blood in the Mega voluntary blood donation camp. Out of the 412 voluntary blood donors who participated in the camp, 307 were females below the age of 25. It set a record in Kerala, with the highest number of female volunteers donating blood in a single camp and hence hit headlines in Kerala.


Though studies show more women than men receive blood, female donation in Kerala is comparatively very less. There are several myths and misconceptions in the community on blood donation, particularly about female blood donation. The community, chiefly parents and elders, oppose the donation by a female donor with prejudiced and absurd arguments like fear of future weakness, especially in reproductive health, fear of possible anemia allied with menstruation and other physiological aspects of women, etc. Interestingly, some patriarchal communities believe that the quality of blood from the weaker sex is not good enough for donation. The other common misconception among laymen is that fresh whole blood is required for transfusion.

The camp extenuates such notions of the community by ensuring increased participation through effective communication campaigns and strategic interventions. ‘We were enlightened with the information conveyed in the preparatory classes conducted in our College by Dr. Suresh and Mr. Ganesh Pillai from KSACS’, Ms. Tintu, an 18 year old Engineering student commented. ‘Almost all our friends who attended the class were willing to donate blood for the noble cause of saving lives, but several of them withdrew from donation due to the opposition from their parents’, she regretfully continues.


The slogan of the World Blood Donors Day was “New Blood for the World”. Hence we were trying to generate maximum participation of youths, especially girls in the Day’s Observance and could pull off maximum female bleeding in a day, the organizers of the campaign said. ‘For this we focused our preparatory communication interventions in colleges, youth clubs, etc., as part of the campaign and we believe these novices in blood donation in turn will network extensively to encourage other youngsters to donate blood. It will certainly pave way for the availability of safe blood in need from voluntary non-remunerated regular blood donors’, they affirm.


Mr. Sudhakaran, the elected Member of Parliament from Kannur constituency inaugurated the State Level Campaign by voluntarily donating his blood publicly and it engendered positive spirit among the organizers and participants of the programme. Inspiring from this, almost all the dignitaries present in the inaugural meeting donated blood their zealously.


24 of such mega blood donation camps were conducted as part of the Day’s Observance on 14th June at various locations across the State. A total of 1410 volunteers donated their blood on the Day for showing their moral obligation to the social cause. Dr. K. Shylaja, Project Director of Kerala State AIDS Control Society was directly involved in the process and led the campaign to a success. Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT) provided all technical
and logistical support to the State Level campaign.


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BEST PRACTICE DOCUMENTATION UNIT
IEC
DIVISION, KERALA STATE AIDS CONTROL SOCIETY
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,
KERALA
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Management
Support by:

HINDUSTAN LATEX FAMILY PLANNING PROMOTION TRUST (HLFPPT)
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Visit www.ksacs.in for best practices from Kerala>>>>>


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Comment by Gaston on September 2, 2010 at 8:25am
Thank you for sharing this. I like how the parliament member gave the good example.

Can you share a bit more on the process or tools you used to do these "effective communication campaigns and strategic interventions".

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