Uganda Red Cross Society, founded in 1939, and established by act of parliament of Uganda in 1964 (chapter 125), is a Humanitarian Organization and a member of the International Red Cross / Crescent movement. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (a semi autonomous department in the Ministry of Health), the society has been promoting blood donor recruitment activities in Uganda since 1962.
Blood Donor Recruitment activities are a core function of the URCS and are implemented nationally. URCS is responsible for educating the public, registering and caring for them as voluntary non-remunerated blood donors while UBTS is responsible for the technical aspects of collection, screening and distribution of the safe blood for transfusion country wide.
The need for safe blood for transfusion in Uganda remains on the increase on annual basis. According to the WHO standards, a country is supposed to collect blood units' equivalent to 1% of the total population if all the transfusion needs are to be met. As of 2010 Uganda requires about 300,000 units of blood which is projected to increase by 10% annually.
URCS and UBTS being at the centre of blood transfusion services is faced with the need to recruit more "safe" blood donors to ensure that a reservoir of safe blood is maintained to meet the demand through out the year hence the concept of club 25 - Uganda.
In 1987, Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) started the campaign against HIV. In order to propel this campaign HIV/AIDS clubs were formed. Their success in spreading the message against HIV through music, dance and drama, later opened way to the formation of the blood donor clubs.
In 1993, UBTS and URCS fully embraced the formation of BDCs as a strategy to increase availability of adequate safe blood units in hospitals and further the aim of eliminating replacement blood donors to retain voluntary non-remunerated blood donors.
The club members, following an education campaign helped to recruit other members of their local community. Their local knowledge and contacts were essential in counteracting fears, the mystery of blood donation and transfusion since by then the practice was referred to as "blood sucking" and those who did the job referred to as "bloodsuckers."
Since 1993 these clubs have expanded to 606 in 2010. However, the membership of the existing clubs (606) does not yeild adequate supplies of blood to meet the ever increasing need for blood in hospitals due to the increasing population. Given the above background, the URCS/UBTS wishes to introduce a new concept, club 25- Uganda.
Club 25 also known as Pledge 25 was first launched in Zimbabwe in 1989, after identifying that young people who were of low-risk group ceased donating blood after leaving school. This is the same among Ugandan donors (youth) who completely get lost after consistently donating blood while in school. This is attributed to unclear guidelines on how to absorb and keep them active as blood donors.
Examples of pledge 25 include; Malawi where youth between the ages of 16-25 pledged to donate blood at least 25 times in their lifetime after leaving school. While in South Africa, they pledged to donate 20 times by the age of 25.
Club 25 Uganda, is defined as the group of at least 25 regular blood donors between 17 -35 years of age in a given community who come together and form a group because of their passion/love for blood donation and pledge to donate blood at least twice a year in addition to registering at least two other blood donors by the end of the year.
Number of new donors
Increase or Decrease of donors
Record of repeat donors
Record on appointments
Records assist on donor recall
Club 25 is a global name for all groups of youth who have passion for blood donation and is proved to have galvanised recruitment in some countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa with similar conditions like in Uganda.
Club 25 advocates for blood donation groups more especially from out of school. This addresses the Ugandan situation that has been having difficulties in the communities even with students who leave schools and cease to donate blood.
Club 25 advocates for active blood donors with passion who are encouraged to donate at least 2 times a year and to donate blood at least 25 times by the age of 35.
Club 25 also has a multiplier effect since it encourages registration of donors by their peers with the concept of "a donor recruits a donor" that encourages donors to register at least two other donors per annum.
Club 25 is effective in donor retention and promotes sharing of other key health messages, with the aim of improving the quality of life in their community.
Club 25 encourages sharing and exposure to the blood donors with passion in blood donation activities to explore their potential.
Club 25 provides opportunities for the youth to enhance their community mobilization and leadership skills.
The club 25 – Uganda major objective is to increase donor retention by 5% annually through improved awareness on blood donation and other key health messages among the youth in communities.
Organising lifestyle activities such as sports, music, dance and drama.
Organizing blood donation drives.
Conducting club meetings
Participate in World Blood Donor Day Celebrations.
Organise periodic camps.
Participate in environmental awareness campaigns
Participate in club exchange visits.
Participate in community education on safe behaviours and health promotion activities.