THE ROTARY SAFE BLOOD PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICA

Posted by Editor on Jun 07, 2017
THE DONATION OF BLOOD IN LATIN AMERICA
Throughout Latin America , there is a chronic shortage of blood. But, as elsewhere in the world, local clinics and hospitals use paid donors as their primary source.  Paid donors have a higher incidence of blood borne diseases than voluntary blood donors.  These include AN ALARMING RISE IN THE INCIDENCE OF AIDS and Hepatitis.  In fact, where the US rate of donor volunteers approaches 5% of the population, the rate in these countries is far less than 1%.  THE USE OF CONTAMINATED BLOOD IS A MAJOR HEALTH PERIL IN THESE COUNTRIES.
THE ROTARY SAFE BLOOD PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICA
DISTRICTS 7610 AND 7620 – MD-DC-VA
 
 
GENERAL OVERVIEW
 
THE DONATION OF BLOOD IN LATIN AMERICA
Throughout Latin America , there is a chronic shortage of blood. But, as elsewhere in the world, local clinics and hospitals use paid donors as their primary source.  Paid donors have a higher incidence of blood borne diseases than voluntary blood donors.  These include AN ALARMING RISE IN THE INCIDENCE OF AIDS and Hepatitis.  In fact, where the US rate of donor volunteers approaches 5% of the population, the rate in these countries is far less than 1%.  THE USE OF CONTAMINATED BLOOD IS A MAJOR HEALTH PERIL IN THESE COUNTRIES.
 
VISION FOR THE PROGRAM
ROTARY CLUBS AND ROTARIANS HAVE ACCEPTED A MAJOR ROLE IN IMPLEMENTING THIS VISION IN LATIN AMERICAN CITIES AND OUTLYING VILLAGES.
 
PAHO AND ROTARY WILL PARTNER IN A LONG TERM EFFORT TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS FOR SAFE BLOOD.
 
WE WILL WORK TO reduce mortality and improve patient care in Latin America and the Caribbean , PROMOTE improvement in the availability, accessibility and timeliness of safe blood for transfusion, and the correct use of blood in patients.
 
PAHO has established Safe Blood as one of its two PRIME missions FOR ITS FORTY LATIN AMERICAN OFFICES. 
 
PROJECT GOAL:
increase the amount of safe blood provided by voluntary donation. Means of Verification:
 
(1) Increase in units of blood;
(2) Increase of donors;
(3) INCREASE in repeat donors; 
(4) Number of Rotarians giving blood; and
(5) Number of Rotarians that are repeat donors
(6) NUMBER AND EFFECTIVENESS OF LOCAL BLOOD DRIVES.
 
 
 
The PAHO mission and the worldwide Governmental Safe Blood Committee-
For its own mission , Pan American Health Organization, part of WHOM, has now defined its major two programs:
 
(1) eradication of measles, and
(2) elimination of unsafe blood which in turn will arrest the alarming increase in Hepatitis, AIDS, and several other diseases. 
 
This is a major change by the leader of health service in Latin America
 
PAHO Teams have been established FOR (A) providing equipment, (B) providing technical assistance, and (C) encouraging public blood donation.
 
This attack on major health problems is to be undertaken in forty Latin American countries, in cooperation with the 40 Ministries of Health, the International Red Cross, and others. 
 
OVERALL ROTARY MISSION
U.S. Rotary Districts 7610 and 7620, in partnership with PAHO AND ROTARY CLUBS IN EACH COUNTRY UNDERTAKE THIS PROGRAM.
 
THE MISSION IS TO ACHIEVE SUFFICIENCY AND SAFETY IN BLOOD APPLICATIONS, TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL ROTARIANS TO PARTICIPATE, AND TO OPERATE A US COMMITTEE FOR OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT.
 
 
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM
 
GENERAL NEAR-TERM  OBJECTIVES
1.      To achieve sufficiency and safety of blood through voluntary blood donation 
2.      INCREASE THE POOL OF Latin American Rotary Clubs to promote volunteer blood drives – SENSITIZE THE ROTARIANS.
3.      Rotarians and others to be repeat blood donors.
4.      UNDERTAKE WELL-PLANNED TRAINING PROGRAMS.
5.      Educate the public REGARDING SAFE blood and THE importance of voluntary PUBLIC blood donation
6.      Assist and advise those Clubs on citywide donor promotions in all areas, concentrating on students and young adults.
7.      Encourage setting up a network of donor vans AS NEEDED. This will be entirely a local initiative if desired.  THE COMMITTEE WILL NOT BE INVOLVED.
 
8.      THROUGH PAHO, MEASURE THE EFFICACY OF THE EFFORTS-TRAINING, SIGN-UPS, BLOOD TO PROCESSING.
9.      PARTNER WITH LOCAL HEALTH AGENCIES, COLLEGES, AND OTHERS.
 
The Program benefits from tactful, patient, credible, and energetic qualities ON THE PART OF ROTARIANS.  THE GOALS WILL NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED RIGHT AWAY.
 
 
HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM
 
 
Early Discussions And Activities
tHREE MARYLAND ROTARIANS BECAME THE INITIAL PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROGRAM.  THEY WERE PAST DISTRICT GOVERNORS JOHN SEVER, JAMES McDiarmid, AND RICHARD ANGUS.
 
In 2001, Rotary leaders entered discussions with the Pan American Health Organization, the largest entity in the World Health Organization (WHO)...  These led to support of the overall goal to stop the alarming rise in diseases related to donated blood, in Latin American countries.  Preliminary feasibility meetings led to a series of fact-finding trips by Rotarians from the Baltimore Washington area to Colombia , El Salvador , and Uruguay in 2002.
 
MAJOR CONFERENCE AT PAHO
Rotarians also participated in the First Pan-American Conference On Blood Safety, in 2003.  Dr. John Sever, PDG, and PDG Jim McDiarmid discussed the rotary-PAHO partnership.  National representatives from 43 countries in north and South America and the Caribbean attended this outstanding three-day planning assembly. Committee leaders made a presentation at this assembly. Separately, a joint agreement for action was developed for the entire area, in which Rotarians from Districts 7610 (Va.) and 7620 (Md.-DC) continue to participate today as active partners.
 
THE EARLY WORK RESULTED IN THE FORMATION OF THE SAFE BLOOD COMMITTEE
 
 
THE SAFE BLOOD COMMITTEE
 
COMMITTEE FORMED
During 2002, the new Safe Blood Committee was formed in Rotary District 7620 ( MD-Washington , DC ). It supported visits to Latin American with regular communications between countries.  THE COMMITTEE MET MONTHLY WITH MANAGEMENT FROM PAHO.
 
This culminated in a two-day workshop at the Pan American Health Organization world headquarters in Washington .  There, Rotarians from three South American countries worked with the local committee members to develop the first project plan, and to formulate initial funding requests.  PAHO FUNDED THIS WORKSHOP.
 
THESE THREE COUNTRIES WERE COLOMBIA , EL SALVADOR , AND URUGUAY .
 
THE COMMITTEE HAS SINCE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE ROTARIANS FROM NORTHERN VIRGINIA (DISTRICT 7610) AND MORE MEMBERS FROM MARYLAND AND D.C. (DISTRICT 7620).
 
THE COMMITTEE NOW INCLUDES A LEGAL ADVISOR, A FINANCIAL CONTROL ADVISOR, A BLOOD DONATION ADVISOR, AND A ROTARY FOUNDATION ADVISOR.
 
 
FIRST VISITS
The blood supply in Colombia , Uruguay , and El Salvador is largely drawn from replacement donors and paid donors.   The Committee appointed Rotary Representatives for each LATIN AMERICAN country, and visits were made to set up coordination and partnerships.  In Maryland-DC, the Rotary Clubs of College Park , Pikesville, Po tom ac , and Washington, DC. participated as the initial partners.
 
Rotarians began the new program by setting a donor example – donating blood themselves.  This was followed by grassroots efforts IN TWO COUNTRIES that included training the trainers to go into the various cities and villages and conducting promotions and blood drives in the major cities. 
 
OBJECTIVES OF THE COMMITTEE
 
  1. Specify a priority list of Latin American countries
 
  1. Organize the committee to provide a U.S. Rotary representative for each country so specified.  Secure persons, as representatives who speak Spanish, are available for occasional travel, and can work in an atmosphere of positive relationships.
 
  1. Establish the necessary Latin American relations, develop an understanding of situations in each country, and seek out local Rotarians TO PARTICIPATE.
 
  1. Encourage each country to develop an operating plan with support from U.S. Rotarians.
 
  1. Secure partner clubs in the US , and facilitate the joint preparation of Matching Grant applications for submission to the Grants Committee and to the Rotary Foundation.
 
  1. Without appearing to monitor progress, stay in regular contact AND DISCUSSION with the local Rotarians.
  2. Assist with the preparation of final reports to the Foundation, and with transition to the next phases along with necessary future Grant applications.
 
 
THE COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES TO THE COUNTRIES
 
There are SEVERAL main areas of REPRESENTATIVE responsibility involved.
1.      Encourage public blood donation through promotion with Rotary leaders
2.      ACT as a resource, not a monitor
3.      Participate in the program planning with the local Rotarians and others
4.      Buttress the impetus to continue the program through the established milestones and additional phases
5.      Communicate with THE Committee Chair and THE Committee; discuss with Committee advisors
6.      Provide support from the U.S. , both management and financial
7.      Bring in partner Rotary Clubs in the U.S.
8.      Participate in the preparation of Travel Grants, and occasionally travel to the country
Systematically be aware of what is happening, by frequent contacts, offering support and suggestions, picking up indications
9.      Participate in the preparation of Grant Applications to the Rotary Foundation
10.  Work with other local staffs including PAHO, Red Cross, and government
 
While interpreters and translators are available, direct communication in Spanish makes communication and cooperation much easier.
 
 
 
CURRENT AND COMPLETED ACTIVITIES
 
THE PROJECT PARTNERS: 
1.      Rotary Clubs in SEVEN Latin American Countries
2.      Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the largest component of WHO
3.      National Blood Services of Ministry of Public Health in Project Countries
4.      Other Health Professionals in these countries
 
COMPLETED ACTIVITIES:
1.      Fact finding missions to potential project countries
2.      Formation of Rotary Safe Blood Committee, MD-DC-VA
3.      Formation of Rotary Safe Blood Committees in project countries
4.      Replicate project in other Latin American countries
5.      Rotary Foundation Matching Grants with Uruguay , El Salvador , Ecuador , & Colombia
6.      Voluntary Donors as a percent of population has risen, as noted by PAHO
7.      MEET INITIAL success IN IMPROVING PUBLIC DONATION OF BLOOD, USING PAHO STATISTICS
8.      STARTED SAFE BLOOD, INC., TO HANDLE DONATIONS
9.      MOST COMMITTEE PERSONS SPEAK SPANISH.  WE HAVE MADE MANY FRIENDS IN LATIN AMERICA , AND WE ALSO WORK WITH THE MINISTRIES OF HEALTH AND THE RED CROSS.
 
LISTING OF THE COUNTRIES NOW INVOLVED
PERU
Bolivia
Colombia
El Salvador
Uruguay
Chile (PRELIMINARY)
Caribbean – St. Lucia and Jamaica
Ecuador (COASTAL AND INLAND INITIATIVES)
 
AWARDS TO ROTARY
PAHO has expressed great appreciation for Rotary’s efforts in bringing Safe Blood to the cities of Latin America and Rotary was presented a Certificate of Appreciation in a formal ceremony.  Their offices in each country do show progress in community donation and blood drives.
 
 
FUTURE PLANS:
1.                              Continue to work with Rotarians in seven countries throughout all three phases of the project, maintaining the initial initiative and intensity
2.                              WITH PAHO, ANALYZE THE POTENTIAL FOR PROGRAMS IN ADDITIONAL COUNTRIES
3.                              Expand the overall program, POSSIBLY IN COOPERATION WITH ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
 
MORE INFORMATION
o       Contact Jerry Evans, PDG, 7610, bevans1938@adelphia.net          
o       Committee members are available to make club presentations