First Blood Donation Campaign Sees Successful Launch in Coronado
The Pana-Expat "Blood For Everyone!" Campaign launched its first ever Blood Donation Drive in Coronado this Saturday. This campaign is a merging of Panama's National Blood Program, Hospital Santo Tomas, Hospital del Nino, FUGSAVINI, and several Expat Organizations. The campaign has 3 goals; providing education, developing an Emergency Blood Donor Call List, encouraging more frequent blood collections, through continuation of all of the above. Driven by recent calls for blood donations, the owner of a popular social expat website, http://www.expatexplorers.com took the initiative of connecting people and organizations which resulted in the Pana-Expat "Blood For Everyone!"Campaign.
The campaign's committee is initiating a grass roots effort to bring awareness about blood donations and to set up collection drives. Dr. Carols Montero, who is Chief of Hematology at Panama's National Hospital is also the man in charge of the National Blood Program. Montero stressed the need for support from private and government agencies. "We would like to see daily donations", he said. "For that, money is needed and people to co-operate with us". By co-operation, Montero means, people willing to organize and promote blood drives in their area. This Saturday's blood drive was made possible with help from volunteers from beach area expat communities. Sheila Scott & Louise Belisle of the Coronado Social Association along with Playacommunity.Com helped spread the word about the event; space was donated by Craft Show organizers and La Carreta restaurant donated an air conditioned room for blood collections and storage.
Education is a high priority for the newly formed Pana-Expat "Blood For Everyone!" Campaign. Of the Latin American countries, Panama has the lowest voluntary blood donation rate. This is because Panamanians are suspicious of collection practices. "Among other incorrect beliefs, several Panamanians are afraid they will catch a disease from the needles", explains Laura Alexander, one of the volunteers at Saturday's event. Panamanians need to be educated that blood donations are not only safe, but advance blood donations are crucial to saving lives; which someday could be their own. As part of the campaign's mandate to spread the word, they ask people to 'bring a friend'.
Saturday's effort collected 24 units of blood. "This can save around 70 people", Dr. Montero explains. When asked if the blood drive obtained the number of donors they hoped for, Montero said, "We didn't just do good, we did excellent". Past blood drives have seen a low number of donors.
In conjunction with blood collections, the Pana-Expat "Blood For Everyone!" Campaign will also keep an EMERGENCY BLOOD DONOR CALL LIST. The list will contain blood type, names and the contact information of people willing to donate blood in case of an emergency and also offers the option of signing up to become a regular donor.
For more information about Pana-Expat "Blood For Everyone!" Campaign, to add your name to the donor list, or to help bring a clinic to your area, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.