French Rotary blood drive spreads to Africa

 
Since its start in 1998 in the city of Toulouse, District 1700, the blood donor campaign Mon Sang pour les Autres  (My Blood for Others) has become a leading national Rotary event in France. Moreover, the campaign has now spread to the French speaking part of West Central Africa and has also inspired clubs in overseas French territories. (Click here to see Newsletter no. 4, May 2008 or go to Site Pages). Clich here to view video.
 

"During 2007, we have welcomed more than 14,500 donors in about 40 French cities," reports PDG Jean-Claude Brocart, founder of Mon Sang pour les Autres, to www.ourblooddrive.org .

In 1997, Rotarian Jean-Claude Brocart, member of the Rotary-Club Toulouse-Ovalie, District 1700, envisioned a blood donor campaign in his home town of Toulouse. In January the following year, the first Rotary organized blood donation drive was launched, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Rotary in Toulouse, the country's fourth largest city. The blood drive was named Mon Sang pour les Autres, MSPLA (My Blood for Others). Jean-Claude Brocart was then the club president of RC Portet-sur-Garonne, located in a town in the suburb of Toulouse.

Over the ten years since then, about 56,000 individuals have answered the call from Rotary to donate blood, and clubs from the youth organization Rotaract and the women's Inner Wheel have also become engaged in the campaign.

Out of the more than 14,500 donors in the year 2007, the national tallies showed the following cities in the lead:  Toulouse with 3200 blood donors; Lyon 2800 blood donors; Bordeaux 1500; Montpellier with 1200 blood donors.

Mon Sang pour les Autres has become "the most important blood drive in France", says Jean-Claude Brocart, who served as District Governor in 2004-2005, Rotary International's centennial year.

Every year, French hospitals need more than 2.5 million units of blood, and the state-run body EFS (l'Establissement Francais du Sang) - empowered with an official monopoly to perform the actual bleed of donors and treatment of the blood - needs to find 800 new blood donors every day. "Doing it alone is almost a mission impossible", says a regional EFS' director, Jean-Pierre Huart, to the magazine Le Rotarien. He himself is a member of Rotary Club Lille Sud.

The Rotary blood drives take place at different times and intervals in various clubs and districts. In Toulouse, the main drive is scheduled for four days in January. A major common feature is to  have the drive in a central location in the city and to make the most possible "noise" to catch the awareness of passers-by. Among popular attractions are to have musicians perform. In the city of Lyon, a show of veteran automobiles has been a main attraction. In the city of Bordeaux, Rotaractors have taken it upon themselves to distribute flyers hoping to persuade passing folks to role up their sleeves.

During the drive in the city of Toulouse in January 2008, about 1390 donors were asked by the organizors about their knowledge of the Rotary blood drive. According to a campaign newsletter , the poll showed that 37 percent just seized upon the opportunity to give blood as they passed by the venue; 18 percent had received mail from the blood donor organization EFS announcing the event; 9 percent were friends of Rotarians; 8 percent had come because of mention in the press (in 6 written media); 7 percent had received SMS messages from the blood donor organization EFS about the event; 5 percent had seen street posters; and 5 percent were inspired by mention on television (3 stations). The rest had come because of information from radio-stations; Internet; posters and flyers in schools and universities. 

  • Coinciding with its 10th anniversary, Mon Sang pour les Autres got its own logo, designed by Rotarian Robert Sivilia, member of RC Lyon-Villeurbanne. Right away, the logo has become the preferred symbol of participating clubs and districts in the country and overseas.
  • In the city of Toulouse, where it all began, 5000 copies of an eight-page brochure were distributed to blood donors, volunteers and staffers from the official blood donor organization EFS.
  • The magazine Le Rotarien, the French version of The Rotarian, ran a three-page article in its November 2007 issue on the campaign Mon Sang por les Autres. 

In 2007, the French campaign, My Blood for Others, spread to Gabon, District 9150, a country in the French speaking West Central Africa. In Libreville, the Gabonese capital, Rotary Club of Libreville this year initiated an annual blood drive in cooperation with the National Centre for Blood Transfusion (CNTS). 

Next year's first blood drive in the capital of Libreville has been scheduled for February20 Februray, 2009. Being a French-speaking country, the name "Mon Sang Pour Les Autres" will be used.

"The giving of blood is a practise that nowadays is rather routine in the West, but remains little developed in Africa," RC of Libreville's newsletter explains. According to the magazine Le Rotarian, in the seaport of Port-Gentil, the second largest city in Gabon, Rotary Club of Port-Gentil has decided to join My Blood for Others campaign after the opening of a blood bank adjacent to the city hospital. 

Editor's note:  Mon Sang pour les Autres "went international" after a speech given last year by the founder of the French Rotary campaign, Jean-Claude Brocart, at l'Institut des clubs du Gabon.

Go to the journal PHOTOS to view/download the anniversary poster, the 2008 poster and the new campaign-logo. The logo can also be viewed/downloaded from the journal DOWNLOADS or by clicking here.

A statistical overview of the French blood donor drive 1998-2008 can be viewed/downloaded from the journal DOWNLOADS er by clicken here.

Footnote:   Jean-Claude Brocart is a charter member of Global Network for Blood Donation, Rotarian Action Group and can be contacted at the e-mail address  jc.brocart@free.fr  

Send your comment to: editor@ourblooddrive.org