Donating blood in South Sudan isn’t a common practice, and to some, it’s taboo. When Akol Yam FM, a The Radio Community partner station in Aweil, publicized an upcoming blood drive, over thirty people volunteered to help those in need.
Luka Lual Aleu is the health education focal point in Aweil. He said the station helped educate people and learn about the importance of giving blood as a result of the health program aired on Akol Yam 91 FM. Aleu told a story of one community member who saved the life of a mother who was on the operating table, because he donated his blood – the community member had heard on the radio about the urgent need for blood at the hospital. The hospital in Aweil is admitting patients who need blood immediately, but without blood in the bank, they can’t help them.
Aleu said that Akol Yam helped pass the message to the wider community – prompting a group of young people called the Aweil Youth Club to donate blood. The group sent members to give blood immediately to save patients in need. The hospital continues to see more blood donors following the campaign on Akol Yam FM:
“We really acknowledge the work being done by Akol Yam 91 FM; without its support, it could be hard for people to get the information of patients that need blood in the hospital. No has one died in the hospital recently as a result of no blood, because after we passed the information to the community, all patients who were in critical condition got blood transfusions and all have recovered and discharged.” – Luka Lual Aleu, Health Education Focal Point
Recently, a hospital official called the station editor and told her that people are giving blood thanks to the campaign on Akol Yam 91 FM. One community member said during an interview that anyone in the community who can give blood, should do it to help their people.
“I want to tell other people to come and give blood. Giving blood does not harm. So, I am telling those who are strong and have enough blood to come to the hospital to donate blood and help our sisters/brothers.”
Akol Yam FM is a member of The Radio Community, a network of community radio stations in South Sudan supported by Internews through the USAID-funded i-STREAM (Strengthening Free and Independent Media in South Sudan) project.
(Banner photo: Drama group relaying messages on barriers to blood donation. Credit: Pachodo.org)