With the participation of 54,973 Colombians in the conference a total of 44,882 effective units were reached.
The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace (GEAP) in Colombia and the blood banks, held during the second half of 2015, the 6th International Marathon “Life is in the Blood”, where they reached a total of 44,882 units of effective blood.
With the aim of creating a culture of voluntary, altruistic and regular donation of safe blood, the Activists for Peace promoted the blood drives and gave awareness talks throughout the country, achieving the participation of 54,973 citizens.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the need for blood units for transfusion in a country requires a minimum of 10 blood donors per 1,000 inhabitants; but recent studies indicate that 75 countries get much less.
For this reason, the GEAP in Colombia works to promote this culture in the nation, with the firm intention that all blood banks and hospitals have units of blood; in that way to meet the demand, and bring peace in the human family.
1,450 blood drives in Colombia
The GEAP volunteers made 1,450 blood drives in 20 departments and in the capital city. The sessions were held jointly with 39 blood banks, with the Capital District Network consisting of 16 blood banks and 85 hospital institutions. (See: Graphics of the 6th International Marathon “Life is in the Blood” Colombia)
Figures that increase for the benefit of society
According to Dr. Sonia Rebollo, coordinator of the Network of Blood Banks of the District, representing the Ministry of Health of Bogotá, an increase in terms of percentage of donors can be observed from 2% to 3%.
“In terms of blood donation, the greatest benefits are associated not only with the increase in blood donors, but with the increase in safer donors; and especially it has been a fundamental contribution to the culture of blood donation in our city, where we have already begun to venture not only into the adult population that can donate, but in the child population with all the support that the leaders of the Embassy of Activists for Peace, in the promotion strategies, and already live in each of the blood drives”.
On the Atlantic Coast, Dr. Beatriz Elena Maestre Araujo, coordinator of the Network of Blood Banks and Transfusion Services of the Magdalena Department, said:
“I believe that the Activists for Peace have been very important support for the blood banks of our department, since they are attracting more donors every day, so that they help us in the department to have a lower blood deficit (...) we have improved in terms of voluntary donors, because we continue with first-time voluntary donors. In our department the index of voluntary donors is almost 75%, the usual voluntary donors are in lower rank, it would be like 40%”.
Native People join the blood drives
Inhabitants of Cali, Medellin and Cartagena received talks where they learned about the importance of donating blood, action that allowed them to join the day and increase the number of effective donations.
Members of the indigenous peoples, who because of their traditions and customs refrain from donating blood, received awareness talks from the GEAP volunteers. For her part, the Wayúu social worker, Sandra Palacios, said:
“We as a Wayúu or Wayúu woman, we are very, very delicate with the question of blood: 'Why do I give my blood?' Explaining to them all of a sudden what it is for, with a good awareness, you can get them to understand from another point of view of what it is to donate blood”.
For Luis Gaviria, head of the brigade of the blood bank of the Kalai Foundation in Bogota, he said that deferred donations (blood that does not meet the security conditions to be transfused) can be reduced when citizenship is taught.
“Obviously, that the population becomes aware, has more knowledge about the part of the donation. There are many who are unclear as to what it is, what are the requirements to donate, but they still have the intention”.
When there is health, peace reigns
Dr. María Gómez, coordinator of the Network of Banks of the Department of Sucre, said:
“If I approached a person who is really telling me: 'I need your blood, I need to save my son's life', and I know that in me it is helping to save my life because I am going to donate blood: there I am donating, I am giving this act of love, act of generosity, act of social responsibility, there I am contributing in the peace, in the peace process”.
For his part, José Rodríguez, a patrolman of the Colombian National Police, a regular donor, mentioned:
“If you do not have health, you are not at peace with yourself, you would not have the desire to work, you would not want to live; one without health has nothing. So I believe that it is necessary to have health to be able to have a peace”.
Personnel of governmental entities participated in the 6th International Marathon
In the municipality of Caucasia, the blood drive was attended by the staff of the City Hall and the House of Justice, who with their participation encouraged more people to be voluntary donors. During the activity, 90% effective units were reached.
Likewise, Dr. Andrés Almengor, a specialist in Transfusion Medicine at the blood bank of the Cardioinfantil Foundation in Bogotá, said:
“I believe that the best example starts at home. If I have my family and my children see that I give (I know there have been several cases today), those children see that it is something that is important, they see that it is something that is saving lives and they see the process”.
Similarly, Dr. Carolina Ojeda, a bacteriologist at Cardioinfantil, said:
“All of us have a personal donation culture, that is, we are all active donors, and in one way or another we are always generating culture in our families”.
The Superdonor and Activists for Peace promoted blood drives
The Activists for Peace promoted the seminars in the regions of the country with signs, banners, talkers, giant drops, hats-drops, among others, even though some areas of the health entities were evacuated, due to the Zika virus and Chikungunya
This action achieved receptivity on the part of the inhabitants of the visited areas. The cities of Yumbo-Valle, Villavicencio-Meta, Neiva-Huila, were the places that stood out during the promotion.
The costal Superdonor (Don Luis Antelíz Quintero) is a very charismatic character who with a giant syringe, his cape, red hat and a mask, mounted in the front of a car, participated in the sensitization days together with the volunteers of the GEAP.
“Well, the Costal Superdonor was a character created to educate and to give that touch of enthusiasm and joy to each day. The Superdonor has the mission to carry a clear message to the entire population, of the importance of blood donation, to raise awareness among adults and children that with such a noble and simple act as this, we are giving life, making society”.
University students receive information on voluntary, altruistic and regular donation
The Activists for Peace installed information modules at the Universidad del Magdalena in Santa Marta and at the Cooperativa de Colombia University (UCC), where they clarified doubts regarding the blood donation with the projection of instructional videos, songs referring to the subject and material printed.
Marcela Ramírez, director of the INEC Institute of Cartago-Valle, said:
“Not only do I donate, but I also bring the students, sensitize them; we do a job with relatives to come and donate blood”.
Sindy Gómez, sub-coordinator of the GEAP in the Department of Huila, said:
“It is very pleasing to see how people of all ages learn to know the importance of being voluntary, regular and altruistic donors; and that when they are able to make this donation, they do it with and for love”.
Children learn through various activities the importance of being a voluntary donor
The volunteers of the GEAP during the blood drives carry out manual activities with the children while their parents donate blood. The children learn about blood donation and the benefits that this action offers society.
Dr. Sonia Rebollo of the Ministry of Health of Bogotá also said:
“The activities that develop with children and adults, awareness, information, education with playful elements such as music, such as “pintacaritas”, as is drawing blood cells. This is something that is contributing in a beneficial way to generate a culture of donation in the generations that are currently growing, which will surely be the future blood donors in a few years”.
The coordinator of the Network of Banks of the Department of Sucre, Dr. María Gómez, said:
“That they be made aware that they are the donors: that they do it voluntarily, that they do it on a regular basis; that they take care of their body, in order to end eradicating the targeted donors or the coerced donors, which are the ones with the greatest risk in the infectious markers, which are what are causing us the most harm in the health system, because they are donors that end they will be rejected and that blood will have to be incinerated”.
Colombians light the Tree for life
The Departmental Bank Network carried out the launch of the campaigns in the month of Christmas, an event that allowed the GEAP to hold the closing days of the 6th International Marathon; The event was supported by Civil Defense, the Fire Department of Santa Marta and blood banks.
In the city of Cali, the Park of the Poets was the place where the Red Cross and the GEAP lit the so-called “Christmas Tree for Life, that solidarity flows through your veins”, with the purpose of inviting citizens to donate blood, since in the holiday season the number of donors is reduced.
The dynamics is that for each voluntary donor the stars that illuminate this tree are lit little by little. The goal is to turn it on in its entirety.
Thus, ended the 6th International Marathon “Life is in the Blood” in Colombia, and the GEAP Activists are ready to start the 7th Marathon 2016, where they will continue to promote the voluntary, altruistic and regular blood donation, because life is in the blood.