Friday, Jul 08, 2005
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A good voluntary blood donor base is an essential part of any transfusion service, but blood banks have found that retaining volunteers is much more challenging than getting one-time donors.
A study conducted by Terumo Penpol, a blood bag manufacturer based in the city, has revealed various factors responsible for the failure to maintain donors. One of the major reasons identified for drop out are painful first-time experiences such as vein puncture, double puncture, dizziness or fainting and using a blunt needle.
Lack of communication from blood banks, non-governmental organisations, donor motivators, unfavourable location or time of the donation camp, mishandling by blood bank personnel and wastage or improper utilisation of blood are the other factors.
The survey shows that donor retention assumes more significance in the days of fatal blood communicable diseases as regular repeat donors are safer than new donors since their blood has already been tested and the records maintained by the transfusion service or the blood bank.
Highlighting the need for an active programme to promote donor retention, the study calls for care in handling of donors. Motivation and good public relations play a crucial role in the campaign for blood donation. Staff members of blood banks must ensure that donation process is a pleasant experience for donors.
Personal attention, smiling face, a clean blood collection site equipped with a donor couch, cheerful refreshment corner and signboards extolling the virtues of blood donation help in donor retention. Careful avoidance of haematomas, bruises or double puncture of veins speaks highly about the competence of the blood collecting team.
A single case of post-donation fainting acts as a big dampener putting off other donors.
Some of the promotional activities recommended by the study include periodic outdoor blood collection drives, workshops and training programmes and formation of blood donors' clubs and societies.
The survey points out that retention of volunteers would be easier if the donors feel wanted and appreciated.
It recommends maintenance of accurate records registering change of address and telephone number of the donor.
Donors are to be treated courteously and they are not to be kept waiting. Every complaint, real or imaginary, merits investigation and prompt and polite response.
A soft and prompt answer can often help to tackle a donor's resentment.
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