Blood donations provide a lifeline for a variety of people not only in emergency situations but also for patients receiving certain medical treatments. Ensuring that there are adequate and safe stocks of blood and blood components is a challenge faced by numerous countries.
In Turkey there are three parties responsible for the recruitment of blood donors. These are The Turkish Ministry of Health (MoH), The Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC). Effective coordination between these parties is key to ensuring students are educated about the blood donation, thereby securing them as future donators. This is where WYG has been able to help. Under a scheme jointly financed by the EU and Turkey we have been providing technical assistance to MoH, MoNE and TRC increasing their capacity to develop an attitude among students for voluntary blood donation across all 81 provinces of Turkey.
Covering every angle
There are three main components to the project that our experts are currently undertaking. The first involves revising existing curricula and supporting materials for primary and secondary education to ensure that students understand and acknowledge the importance of voluntary blood donation. The second relates to developing the capacity of MoH, MoNE and TRC human resources providing training kits for key personnel so that they too can support awareness raising. The third is the organisation of blood donor education and recruitment campaigns in 500 pilot schools and, media and public relations campaigns nationwide to capture a wider audience and raise public awareness on blood donation nationwide.
Ms Jale Lola Anagnan, Team Leader, WYG has presented a number of the seminars organised as part of the programme of works. She explains the significance of the project; ‘Our work here addresses an important health issue, to ensure that Turkey has a consistent supply of safe and regular blood donation. Our attention is mainly directed towards school children aged between 6 and 18 years old but as this is a nationwide programme it will inevitably have a wider impact on the general populations of Turkey.
As we continue to provide information seminars to the TRC and MoH on topics such as communication skills, presentation skills, emotional intelligence and learning styles and, team work the ability of these groups to reach out to future blood donors grows. So far this has equated to 30,000 units of blood donation as a direct result of these campaigns although this number is expected to soar as the programme develops and more of the children who have been educated reach an age where they can donate.