NHC Monthly Blood Drive… a dual purpose initiative
The New Hope Cambodia (NHC) Medical Clinic has initiated a monthly blood drive to support the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC). Based in Siem Reap, AHC’s mission is to “provide free pediatric healthcare to the children affected by both poverty and disease in Siem Reap Province and Northern Cambodia and to strengthen Cambodia’s health infrastructure through training of doctors, nurses and other health professionals as well as rural government health workers and communities” (www.angkorhospital.org).
Like most hospitals throughout the world, AHC struggles to maintain an adequate supply of blood.
“I am told the AHC on average receives 100 donations a month. This equates to only 35 litres of blood. However, all donated blood obviously undergoes a rigorous screening process, so of this 35 litres not all of it will necessarily be available for use,” said NHC Medical Clinic Coordinator Jody Bonar.
“Six Medical Clinic staff and volunteers attended our first blood drive in October increasing the hospital’s donated blood bank by six per cent.
“Even if we can get just a few volunteers and staff involved in this program each month we know the benefits will be substantial to the Siem Reap community. AHC treats over 3 000 high level care patients a year. We hope to promote the invaluable work of the hospital and increase their donated blood bank supply. NHC depends upon the hospital’s pediatric services to help care for the children in our community so we also hope this program will increase our professional relationship with AHC.”
The NHC Blood Drive serves a dual purpose by educating people on the vital role of blood donation in health care. Through this initiative it is hoped NHC will create an awareness among the staff and volunteers and through them the wider Siem Reap community of the importance of blood donations.
Health guidelines restrict individuals to donating a maximum of three or four times a year (depending on the donor’s sex). However the NHC Blood Drive will operate monthly, enabling and encouraging the participation of various staff and volunteers.
“Within days of the first blood drive we knew the program would be successful on all fronts. Khmer staff from all departments are already registering for November’s drive since speaking with the Khmer Clinic staff about their experience,” said Jody.
“I am so proud of the clinic staff for embracing this program and leading the way for Khmers in modern medical care and health education. Donating blood is not a practice promoted within Cambodia. Now clinic staff are educating their colleagues on the importance of blood donation, discussing how easy it is to do and the lives that can be saved.”
Oun Nemoll was one of three Khmer Medical Clinic staff to take part in the first blood drive.
“When you walk through the hospital to the pathology department, you pass rooms crammed with very sick children. You see their tears and hear their cries. Though that breaks your heart, you know what you are about to do might just save one of their lives,” said Nemoll.
“Most Khmer are not aware blood donation is something we can do. I hope by sharing my experience with my colleagues and friends that I can encourage more of my people to donate blood. Most donations at AHC come from foreigners so I want to help change that.”