International Youth Forum of IFBDO is an annual meetup of volunteers working on different blood donor organizations all over the world. It is a platform where young individuals get a chance to learn about the blood donation practices in different parts of the world. This year, 19th IYF of IFBDO was organized at Baku, Azerbaijan from 21-25 August 2019. Youth delegates from 11 different countries (Nepal, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Lithuania, Romania, Norway, Denmark and Georgia) attended the forum. This year, I along with the president of Club 25, Aryan Uprety, got an opportunity to attend the wonderful forum representing Nepal. Thanks to BLODAN, Club 25 and Hamro LifeBank who always support youth energy!!! The forum was a blend of intellectual workshops and cultural exchange platform for youths.
Workshops conducted in the forum included Project management, Motivation and Leadership activities, Current situation of global blood donation and Erasmus+ approaches/opportunities for blood donation. This forum also provided me an opportunity to visit an international blood bank for the first time, Central Blood Bank of Azerbaijan, located at Baku. In Azerbaijan, for a population of 10 million, 95k donations are enough to cover all the blood requirements which means 1 donation per 105 individuals. This ratio is similar for Nepalese Blood World which is 1 donation per 111 individuals. They had more than 60% donors as one time donors thus donor retainment was one of the major problems there. Most individuals donated only when their family or friends required blood.
It was very good to know about a call center which was operated by an organization Donner Sang Compter at Lebanon. It helped public there to search for donors in emergencies. They receive request from 100+ individuals every day. Similarly, usage of technology by Romanian organization, Mobile application- Donorium, to maintain donor database and find matching donors for patients in need was also exemplary. It was glad to know that all of the participating countries were a step forward in maintaining digital database of blood information which has motivated me and assured the need of digitization for efficient management of blood. It was good to know that we are in the right direction for creating a smart blood management system in Nepal.
During the workshop we discussed on problems that are prevalent in our countries in blood donation. It was no surprise to see the difference in intensity of problems addressed by delegates from different countries. Major problems addressed were poor donor retainment strategy, lack of social awareness on voluntary blood donation, cost of blood pouches, gender equity in blood donation etc. This year participants in the forum were mostly from European countries due to which third world problems could not be properly addressed. It is a great pleasure that 20th IYF is happening in Nepal. I hope that in the upcoming IYF an even participation from all the regions of the world could be seen to get a wider picture of blood donation in global scenario.