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Interview with Tatiana Blagovidova

Saratov Regional Blood Transfusion Station took first place at the All-Russian Competition of Professional Skills in 2020 with the project "Thank you for help!" in the "Time to do adult deeds" nomination for "The best youth project aimed at promoting and developing voluntary donation of blood and its components". Promotion of blood donation among young people is one of the key activities of the blood service for the development of free blood donation. Tatyana Blagovidova, Deputy Chief Physician for Organizing Donation, will tell us about how this work is being done at the Saratov Regional Blood Transfusion Station.

Tell us about the concept of the project, who was involved in its development? How did it change as it developed?

The Saratov Blood Center has been cooperating with the Saratov universities for a long time. During cooperation, the idea arose of implementing a project that would be aimed at developing a culture of a healthy lifestyle among students, bringing up such qualities as kindness, responsiveness, and a desire to help others in the new generation. Together with Saratov educational institutions, including the Saratov State Medical University and the administration of the Saratov Blood Center, a project was implemented, the main task of which was to increase the number of regular donors among university students and increase donor potential.

Medical students, due to the specifics of their education, more than anyone else, understand the importance of regular blood donation. That is why the leading role in the implementation of the project belongs to the students of the Saratov State Medical University named after V.I. Razumovsky. During the implementation of the project, students from other Saratov universities began to be invited, due to which the number of participants increased more than three times. In 2014, three universities participated in the project, 18 Donor Days were held with the participation of 35 volunteers and 1600 donors. In 2020, eight universities are already participating in the project and 30 Donor Days were held with the participation of 210 volunteers and 5,000 donors.

Your project is aimed at interacting with the student audience - positive and creative. Tell us how this interaction takes place.

From the very beginning, the students of the MedAlliance medical unit got involved in the implementation of the project. Since 2014, the Donor School has been operating at the Saratov Medical University. During the lectures, students are told about the main provisions of donation, about plans for the development of the donor movement and about the next planned campaigns, about the Donor Days. In preparation for the lectures, the commanders of student groups work closely with the specialists of the Blood Center, because every activist must know the full list of contraindications for donating blood and recommendations for preparing for donation. This is an important step towards mutual understanding between donors, organizers and staff of the Blood Center.

What difficulties did you have to overcome in different periods of the implementation of the project for the development of free blood donation?

Probably, the main difficulty is that in summer students go on vacation and carrying out donor actions during this period is very difficult or sometimes even impossible.

2020 became a difficult period - the period of a pandemic. Students were transferred to distance learning, many left outside the Saratov region. Most of the students of medical universities went to medical institutions in order to help fight the new coronavirus infection.

When implementing the project, you work with famous athletes, opinion leaders. Are there any special developments for interacting with them, for involving them in the donor movement?

Athletes themselves often come up with the initiative to hold a Donor Day or to become participants in an already planned donor campaign. Sometimes a number of events are held to invite athletes to participate in the action. It is often impossible to directly contact public figures and it is necessary to negotiate with their managers. During the conversation, we fully provide all the information about the action and, of course, about the importance of voluntary donation of blood.

The terms of the project are indicated in the years 2014-2022. Thus, next year you will be summing up the results of your work. What achievements of the project are you especially proud of?

Yes, indeed, the project program was developed for 9 years. During the implementation of the project, we have achieved great results, which we monitor throughout the entire project. The main achievement of this project is that we managed to convey to students the importance of free voluntary donation of blood and its components.

We are very proud that in 2019 the project of the All-Russian Public Movement "Volunteers-Medical" won the competition of the Presidential Grants Fund and our medical students took an active part in it.

Will the project continue, or will the work to promote donation among young people be implemented in some new concept?

Yes, we will continue to work with university students and volunteer organizations. Many ideas have come during the implementation of the project. We have implemented some of them and plan to implement a lot. Our project is a good experience that will help in the development and implementation of other projects.

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

Be active and motivated! Lead a healthy lifestyle! And never stop!

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