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Interview with Gulnara Letfullina

It is always teamwork to organize donor actions and events. Gulnara Letfullina, chairman of the donor team "Nadezhda" told us about the organization, arose from a small group of like-minded donors at the A.I. Yevdokimov Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry.

Tell us about the history of the student donor team creation.

The donor team "Nadezhda" of the trade union committee of students of the Moscow State Medical and Dental University was created in 2014. It consisted of only 10 people. They were the first organizers, and the one-day donor campaign was held only once a year. No more than 35 people came per day.

Today, the team has more than 100 people, including the core group (Council) and students of various courses who are on the traineeship. Thanks to the increase of the team, the actions began to be held more often: twice a year, and in recent years the number of actions has increased to three times a year, the duration of the actions has increased to three days. Every year we try to improve the conditions for donors by organizing campaigns and promotional events that help to comfortably and effectively carry out Donor Days and bring them to perfection.

Tell us, how did you come to donation?

I am a 3rd-year student of the medical faculty of the Moscow State Medical and Dental University. I found out about the donor team in my first year from senior students who were participants. Having learned that there was an opportunity to help in organizing actions, I decided to try myself and join the team, becoming a volunteer. Initially, my task was to invite people to donate blood: clinic workers, patients, students, and also to inform about the donation of people passing by the donor reception point.

Then I, at the age of 18, became a donor for the first time. Subsequently, the organizers of the action, who saw my volunteer work, began to involve me in organizing the following donor events. The work of the organizers is a complex but interesting process that requires a lot of effort and dedication. I continued to participate in the "donor life" and completed an internship, becoming one of the organizers of the action. In June 2020, the Team Council chose me as the chairman of the Nadezhda blood donor team, which I am to this day. This position obliges me to be responsible not only for organizing events but also for the members of the team, my assistants, as well as donors who are the saviors of someone's lives.

How are donor actions organized at the university? How do you inform volunteers?

A few months before Donor Day, a special unit of our team begins to promote activities via Internet to attract attention. The goal is to attract students to become blood donors to save someone's life. Also, on our Instagram and VKontakte pages, we talk about the activities of the Nadezhda donor team. Quizzes and contests are often held among students to attract potential donors. All events are aimed at ensuring that in the next Donor Days there will be as many participants as possible - people interested in saving other lives.

You continued to carry out donor actions during the pandemic. What difficulties did you face in organizing donor campaigns in conditions of restrictions?

The pandemic has left an imprint on the work process of all organizations, including us. Requirements regarding the safety of donors have increased: additional personal protective equipment was purchased, the flows of participants in the actions were distributed over time to prevent crowds of people. Power kits were individualized. And most importantly, all donors took a preliminary test for COVID-19, to avoid taking blood from infected potential donors.

How do you interact with the leadership of your university concerning the donor movement?

The Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry fully supports the undertakings of the donor team "Nadezhda" of the trade union committee of students, realizing the importance of our activities. We are grateful to the administration for the help in organizing the Donor Days. By donating blood, they are an example for all students of our university. Who, if not them, understand what patient care is, because they are real professionals, saving lives and raising the next generation of doctors.

And our traditional question: what would you wish to donors and people, who are going to join the donor program?

Donor - it sounds proud. This is our motto. Addressing medical students, I would like to say: "Saving lives is in your hands - start small: donate blood - save a person's life!" If you have chosen this difficult path, then you must understand that each of your actions is a step towards the continuation of someone's life, you are a donor, and the life of a person is in your hands! If you have realized this, we are waiting for you at our Donor Days at the A.I. Yevdokimov Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry. We will be happy to see you!

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