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Collaboration and Research as Key Elements for Strengthening Blood Donation in Developing Nations: The Case of Grenada, West Indies

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Objective: The purpose of the study was to identify ways to strengthen the collaboration between the Grenadian Blood Bank, the St George’s University (SGU) chapter of the American Medical Students Association, and St George’s University Health Clinic in order to improve the promotion of blood drives and
increase the number of volunteer donors.

Methods: The study had two phases. Phase 1: an assessment of the strengths and needs of the collaborators and of the blood drives. Phase 2 consisted of three student assessments: a cross-sectional survey of second year medical students, a cross-sectional survey of students in the School of Arts and Sciences and a case-control study of factors affecting student donation on the day of blood drives. Embedded within both phases were service-learning opportunities for students. Both phases received approval from SGU’s Institutional Review Board.

Results: Preliminary achievements included a transient increase in blood donation of twenty per cent during five months though advertising of blood drives remains inadequate. Assessments reveal that most students lack knowledge about the drives, and time (medical students) and fear of needles and infection (Arts and Science students) are potential hindrances to blood donation.

Conclusions: The Blood Bank needs to increase its profile on the university campus and develop a more effective promotion of the blood drives addressing the concerns of students. St George’s University needs to continue supporting student involvement in health promotion activities and identify ways to ensure the sustainability and continuity of these activities. Collaboration and research are useful and effective means to promote blood donation. College students are potentially an excellent source of collaborators and donors if provided with the promotion skills and participation is made convenient.

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e-Published: 09 Apr, 2013
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