Global Network for Blood Donation, a Rotarian Action Group, by tradition, was visibly and noticeably present with a well positioned exhibition booth in the House of Friendship  at  the 103rd Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand May 2012.  In addition, GNBD played a clear role in the two breakout sessions for the Rotarian Action Groups and the two policy meetings during the convention. At our exhibition booth, more than 200 convention-goers signed our list of members bringing the figure to 1600.  Global Network for Blood Donation was founded in 2006-07.  GNBD Vice-president 2012-13 Cees Th. Smit Sibinga attended the RI convention in Bangkok, and here is his report:


103rd Rotary International Convention Bangkok, Thailand May 2012.

The 103rd International Convention of Rotary International was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The Convention was attended by around 36,000 Rotarians, Rotaractors, Innerwheelers, Past Rotarians, Youth Exchangers and spouses. The House of Friendship was an overwhelming and impressively colorful orchid show.

The organizers had hired some 600 coaches to transport all attendees to and from their hotels in a smooth logistically well set up way.

GNBD, by tradition, was visibly and noticeably present with a well positioned booth in the house of friendship manned almost exclusively by the then incoming President B.J. Smith and incoming Vice-president Cees Th. Smit Sibinga. Dressed in the typical GNBD robes they attracted a large number of interested audience. Within two days they had almost run out of all the informative materials.


 Picture: Incoming Vice-president Cees Th. Smit Sibinga (left) and incoming President B.J. Smith with guest at the GNBD exhibition booth in the House of Friendship.

GNBD and the RI RAGs

Global Network for Blood Donation played a clear role in the two breakout sessions for the Rotarian Action Groups and the two policy meetings during the convention. These were attended by the Vice-president Cees Th. Smit Sibinga on behalf of the GNBD Executive Committee.

RAG synergy committee meeting – dinner meeting chaired in the absence of Robert Wubbena by Robert Zinser. The option and proposed actions for synergy between the RAGs were discussed. The synergy should focus on the six Future Vision Plan Areas of Focus (AoF) – Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution; Disease Prevention and Treatment; Water and Sanitation; Maternal and Child Health; Basic Education and Literacy; Economic and Community Development. Both RAG breakout session will be structured along the lines of the synergy policy, where each RAG will present how that fits in.

RAGs board meeting – chaired by Brian Stoyel (vice-chair) and attended by Sharon Cyr, RI program director and representative from TRF Evanston. Robert Wubbena (WASRAG) provided an overview and update of  the pilot project that WASRAG is doing with TRF. The name of the project is “Project Enhancement Process (PEP) pilot. This pilot project is about how The Rotary Foundation will work with RAGs who have expertise in their Area of Focus. Marion Bunch reported on RFFA’s Rotary Family Health Day program.

The purpose of the three day event is to provide HIV Testing/Counseling for citizens across each country at multiple sites established by Rotary clubs.  In addition to HTC services, multiple other free health care services are provided – such as polio immunization, malaria and TB screening, dental clinics, etc. and handout of such products as malaria-treated bed nets, sanitary pads, and de-worming tablets. Robert Zinser of the Population & Development RAG reported on the RFPD Nigeria project.  It has been quite successful, and he asked Sharon Cyr to confirm that it will receive publicity by the RI Publicity Manager.

Cees Th. Smit Sibinga of the Blood Donation RAG reported that World Blood Donor Day is June 14th.  It is supported by WHO and the International Red Cross, among others.  Rotary Clubs provide support by providing informative materials and promoting voluntary blood donation. The RAG coordinates the local effort of the event.

Brian Stoyel reported that he and Ron Denham met with  RIPN Ron Burton at  the International Assembly this past January in San Diego.  The purpose of the meeting was to request that RAGs be a part of the plenary agenda in order to provide Rotary Clubs with information about the RAGs , and also to obtain more prominent booth space at the Assembly. 

Brian Stoyel was formally elected as Chair of the RAGs Committee for a two year period. Marion Bunch was elected vice-chair for a period of two years. 

RAG breakout sessions

There were two breakout sessions centered around RAG synergies in the Areas of Focus:

  1. Maternal and Child Health beakout session. The attending RAGs presented their involvement in maternal and child health followed by a lively Q and A with the audience. The room was fully packed.
  2. Disease Prevention and Treatment breakout session. The attending RAG presented in a standardized two slide format their essence of operations. This was followed by group discussion on the respective activities. The session was well attended. 

RI Future Vision Areas of Focus

Given our activity connections and involvement with each of the six Areas of Focus it would be enlightening to create a GNBD poster with these connections.

The purpose of GNBD contains the following messages to each of the RI Six Area's of Focus to be shared with the Rotary Clubs and Districts.

1.                   Peace and conflict prevention/resolution –

In peace and conflict an adequate blood supply is paramount to support those in need, whether diseased or wounded

2.                   Disease prevention and treatment –

safe and efficacious blood, available, accessible and affordable is an integral part of the health care provision

3.                   Water and sanitation –

the effect of clean water and proper sanitation on the health status of potential blood donors is crucial to donation of safe and efficacious blood by health volunteer donors

4.                   Maternal and child health –

around 75% of all transfusion in the restricted economy countries are given to obstetric and paediatric patients, where still a considerable number of women in these countries die due to severe haemorrhage during delivery and the shortage of an adequate blood supply

5.                   Basic education and literacy –

promotion and advocacy of voluntary blood donation as well as the clinical informed consent (patients) on blood transfusion depend on literacy and basic education.

Safe and voluntary blood donation is much more than just sticking a needle in a vein.

6.                   Economic and community development –

the development of an all voluntary and self-sufficient blood supply goes hand in hand with the development of economy and the community. The higher the human development (HD) index the better the health care and integrated blood supply of a country.

The main focus of GNBD is on the areas 2, 4 and 5.

May 2012, Cees Th. Smit Sibinga, 2012-13 Vice-president GNBD