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World Blood Donor Day: Donating Blood to Save Lives in Indonesia
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Dr. Dewindra Widiamurti and Nanda Aprilia
June 14, 2010

Yani is no longer afraid to donate blood. In fact, Yani’s experience as a Red Cross volunteer has enabled her to encourage family, friends and community members to donate their blood too.

Yani, a village health worker is donating her blood.
Yani, a village health worker is donating her blood.

Yani, a 32-year-old village health volunteer, provides information on the importance of donating blood in her village of Tawangrejo, Central Java, Indonesia, through the Community Based Health and First Aid project (CBHFA) supported by the American Red Cross and Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).

“Besides receiving guidance and knowledge about donating blood for myself, I also can share this information with family members and neighbors. Through socialization through household visits, the community is not afraid to donate their blood anymore,” says Yani.

“By donating blood, we can help people without spending money.”

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day, which serves as a reminder of the importance of voluntary blood donation and encourages more people to become regular blood donors. This day honors and thanks those people who voluntarily donate blood since they provide a strong foundation for a sustainable blood supply that is as safe as it can be.

Many countries still depend on blood donations by family and friends of patients in need of blood. This blood often does not undergo the necessary screening to make sure that it is free of infections, such as HIV and hepatitis. However, the government of Indonesia mandated PMI to conduct and manage the country’s blood supply to make it safer.

Blood donation activity.
Blood donation activity.

PMI hopes to collect 4 million units of blood this year to meet the estimated country-wide demand for blood products. However, they will only be successful with community participation. Engaging the community as partners in blood donation has benefits beyond improving the health care system because it connects the community to the Red Cross.

Yani and 200 other CBHFA volunteers from Central Java have disseminated blood donation information to nearly 2,000 families through health education sessions and household visits.

The health committee and health volunteers of Tawangrejo, in collaboration with PMI and the blood donation unit, established the Non-Remunerated Blood Donor Volunteer Association where blood donation drives are held every three months because they understand the importance of having a quality blood supply.

The initiative will not stop in Tawangrejo, which will serve as a role model for neighboring villages. Tawangrejo will be responsible for establishing and managing blood donation associations in other villages. With the initiative of this small village and other villages like it, PMI will be able to reach its goal of providing life-saving blood to the people of Indonesia.


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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