The 300L students of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos has embarked on a project known as the 500 lives initiative. This was the same team that embarked on the philanthropic initiative ‘Project Smile’ in 2017. The aim of the 500 lives initiative is to produce 500 pints of blood from donors and provide these donations for cancer and sickle cell patients in the pediatric wards at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Now, as the project is still young the target population for donors is limited to UNILAG and the donations are being taken only to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Still in its prime, this initiative promises greater things in future.
The story of the birth of the project is very interesting. In the words of Ossai Jude, one of the project managers who inspired the initiative: “I remember the day this project was birthed. I and a friend, Sharon went to the pediatric ward to visit and sympathize with patients. We met a woman who was there with her son who underwent surgery after chemotherapy the previous year and as it turned out needed a blood transfusion because his blood count was low. Touched, I offered to donate my blood. She broke into tears. She had been contemplating where she would get money to get blood for her son and she was elated at how I came unexpectedly, unplanned to give him blood. My eyes were then opened to the issue that almost all patients on the ward were going through. Ever since then, I have been doing my own bit by going to the wards as often as possible to donate blood for these patients.”
“I want to get others involved in this. I want us to be able to provide for the needs of these children and as a matter of fact, we can. If we can get 1 pint of blood each from 500 people we will be able to provide blood for all those children in need especially the cancer and sickle cell patients.”
The project team will be organizing a blood drive at the University of Lagos, Akoka at New hall and the bookshop car park on March 14th, 2018. According to one of the project managers, the team is interested in the University of Lagos because of her population. But sadly, a great fraction of the population is not so educated about blood transfusion which is why they organized an awareness program on the 28th of February, 2018 in UNILAG.
Several volunteers from the college of medicine converged at the Amphitheatre in UNILAG. They went all round the University to different faculties educating passers-by, students, lecturers and all others about the importance of donating blood revealing to them that there are actively people at the hospital suffering because of the avoidable unavailability of blood or insufficiency of funds of patients and family members to acquire blood. They enlightened them about the myths about blood transfusion of which there are many; myths like blood transfusion leading to death of the donor or illness. The awareness was essential to get people to discard their fears about donating blood and actually see the relevance of making donations.
The project has assured the public that the blood drive will be as safe as is necessary. There will be screening tests before donations are allowed. A plus is the fact that donors will be getting free medical check-ups; BMI, blood glucose level, blood pressure and all other relevant tests. It is also important to mention that there will be sufficient refreshments at the blood drive.
Presently, the team is working on getting funding and sponsorship. They are seeking funding from foundations involved in cancer and sickle cell, lecturers and certain organizations They are very hopeful that something great would come out of all their plans. They would also gladly accept donations from individuals. Donations can be made to the account of the Association of Medical Students, University of Lagos (AMSUL). To get details about donations (either blood or financial donation), contact: 08098089139, 08163532743, 08108570853.
You do not need to do something exceptionally remarkable to make great impact. You do not need to give money out before you can make a difference in the life of others. The little things we do can change lives for the better – can save lives. Do something little to put a smile on humanity’s face today.