As the year continues to unfold the diverse proficiency on the part of every MHAM future doctor to become the heart and soul of the institution, a life-saving mission that MHAM has pioneered among medical schools in Cebu City continued to uphold its immense contribution in achieving safe and quality blood supply for the community during the Blood Donation Drive last February 19, 2019 at the MHAM Library Extension from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening.
A record-breaking indoor event that made MHAM became the recipient of the Pantaleon Villegas Award in April last year, this year’s bloodletting activity was conducted by DOH Region VII Blood Center through the VSMMC Blood Service Unit.
Leveraging the partnership with DOH to alleviate the shortage of blood faced by the hospitals in the region, the conducting team was able to collect two hundred eighty-nine (289) bags of blood units from unstoppable Matias donors who made the team graciously occupied until evening.
MHAM, as one of the top ten agencies in Cebu who contributed bags of blood units in the 2017 community-based blood donation drive, was conferred with the aforementioned award in honor to a Cebuano revolutionary leader of the Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution against Spain, noted as Pantaleón Villegas y Soldi or better known as Leon Kilat by the Cebuanos.
The same award was indebted to MHAM for collecting two hundred sixty (260) blood bags in its “Abuno 2017” and “Juan Blood, Juan Life” blood donation campaigns throughout the year 2017. The said award was commended as the second highest award given to partner agencies that have collected 251 to 350 blood bags two years ago.
A meaningful mission that runs in the blood of Matias present-day heroes in the midst of toilsome yet challenging exams and medical schemes in pursuit of becoming a life saver, the bloodletting activity was participated by first to third year student-donors who were relentless to give hope and make a difference to someone’s life.
Coming together to extend their support and to boost the donors’ self-worth were some of the medical clerks of batch Nexus who conducted the physical exam as blood flows for a purpose in MHAM.
Resounding the event’s success along with his significant contribution being the Junior APMC representative was Moises Ain Lucas A. Maramara of class 2022 who was designated to spearhead the activity in behalf of the Student Council.
A registered medical technologist who graduated at the Adventist Medical Center College, Moises is also the current president of his class. A native of Iligan City, he spent his kindergarten to high school at the La Salle Academy where he also served as a consistent student-leader.
“As an aspiring doctor the significance of the blood drive program is mainly to help in a way that turns to saving a life. Through this program, donating a single bag could carry back a life. As a whole the event was successful and smooth, there might be students who were deferred and who experienced post-donation trauma but still the team and other medical students around were there to help each other making the said life-saving program a success”, 22-year old Maramara said.
Beaming with his leadership skills prior to his SC function in MHAM, he was a former Br. Jaime Hilario representative when he was on the sixth grade in La Salle while he became a second year level representative and a public relations officer in high school. In addition, he was the class 1A president in first year; department of external affairs officer in second year; department of business and finance officer in third year; and department of publication and information officer in fourth year during his college years.
A lifetime member of the Rotary Rotaract, the junior APMC representative added that he had been a blood donor for a number of times and he will continue to donate in the future to help those who are battling between life and death. Driven with a noble goal to become a medical doctor not just because he comes from a family of physicians, Moises was one of the male donors who were qualified for the eligibility criteria. “It was my 7th bag during the program. Eversince I was a medical technology student I was enlightened by the thought of who will benefit and how would this bag help others in my own willingness to donate my own blood”, he concluded.
A National Volunteer Blood Services Program aimed to inculcate public awareness that blood donation is a humanitarian act, this year’s blood donation drive was one of the highlights of the VSMMC team to translate their commitment in promoting voluntary donation and to increase efficiency by centralized testing and processing of blood.
Another record-breaking blood donation drive conducted within the campus in just a single day, the campaign was a continuous effort by the DOH-R7 Blood Center to cope up the demand for blood transfusion particularly in the province in cooperation with the different schools in Cebu City where MHAM has been noted on its overwhelming support.
In an interview with the medical officer IV of VSMMC, Dr. Vic Tara Rachelle Arias, she divulged that risk behaviors such as the casual sexual intercourse with risky individuals, injectable medications and the use of injectable prohibited drugs are considered as permanent deferrals among donors.
“Our advocacy in VSMMC is voluntary blood donation so if our end is voluntary then the donor’s motivation is to help those who are really in need of the blood which is disease-free. We are here to assess and screen the blood donors thoroughly to ensure that there are no recent exposures of risky behaviors from the donors”, Dr. Arias said.
As one of the medical practitioners who assessed the donor suitability in every bloodletting activity for blood safety, the medical officer, who was part of the counseling team was delighted to see the Matias student-donors who patiently took turns at the screening area. “This is my first time in MHAM and I am shocked with the number of blood donors here”, she added.
Located within the vicinity of VSMMC, the DOH-R7 Blood Center is always coping up an extensive demand for blood transfusion and to allocate safe blood supply and ensuring accessibility in the region.
Among the student-donors who braved the challenge for being a first-timer was Joanna Krysta Buyser of batch Resiliere. Although she experienced lightheadedness as a minor side effect after giving blood, the 24-year old junior student was pleased as she was able to donate her blood for the very first time.
“It felt really good especially after seeing the bag of blood I just donated and thinking that that bag could help those in need of it and could give someone a chance at life and I’d still be willing to donate blood in the future”, Buyser said in an interview.
A native of Cebu City who finished BS in Psychology at Silliman University and spent her kindergarten to secondary years at the Colegio de la Immaculada Concepcion Cebu, Buyser also stated that saving lives by donating blood is indeed a heroic act in silence and a relevant contribution to the society.
“It is a great opportunity for us students to be able to contribute to the community and help save lives by donating blood”, she concluded.
A call to every willing donor in answering the combat on blood shortage in the community, the DOH-led blood donation campaign is conducted twice a year in MHAM where the blood units will be used for the patients especially to public hospitals who are in urgent need.
A voluntary practice that runs in the blood of present-day heroes in MHAM to give someone another chance, another chapter and another smile for a gift of life, the blood donation drive ended with full cooperation among life-savers who look forward to become part of another meaningful mission in the future. An unending surge of joy to someone who needs another sunshine, each pint of blood is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, new life and new beginning because blood connects us all. (Ana Liza Abao)