Partnering with the Community

Because of its successful, well-coordinated blood drives and highly effective social media and awareness campaigns, DSC was quickly recognized as a reliable healthcare partner. In numerous instances, members of the community have approached DSC for help, and to form partnerships. Some of DSC's most successful partnerships have involved raising awareness of other local issues during the drives. One such collaborative blood drive, held in 2013, which attracted many donors, simultaneously supported breast cancer patients and promoted the prevention of violence against women. DSC has even formed partnerships with movie theaters, using the theater as a donation center. Allowing donors to watch movies while giving blood minimized donor stress, encouraged volunteer recruitment, and strengthened DSC's ties with the community.

Next Steps and Transferability

DSC is currently working on various projects. Plans are underway to collaborate with other NGOs like the National Organization for Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (NOOTDT). DSC is also working on obtaining a license to run their own blood bank, which would allow them to recruit and train their own phlebotomy staff. This would allow DSC to conduct blood drives independently of hospital staff, with only a single hospital representative required, thus increasing the number of blood drives, while reducing the partner hospital's costs. Another vision for the future is the DSC mobile application. The current donation system involves calling the donor when there is demand. The new system, due to be implemented in the near future, will let the donor schedule their donation. It will also keep track of previous donations, and support the scheduling of subsequent donations.

By gaining the trust and respect of the community, DSC has managed to create a family of volunteers who work together proactively. While DSC's focus has been on recruiting volunteers, it has also tackled the issue head-on by normalizing the relationship with hospitals. DSC's work showcases the ways in which social innovation, propelled by accessible social media, can be used to enhance health systems. DSC has shown that health system issues can be overcome through perseverance, empathy, and innovative thinking.

Conclusion

The incredible success of DSC shows how individuals and communities can work together to overcome health system challenges in developing countries, even in the face of considerable turbulence and uncertainty. Through the innovative use of social media, DSC was able to establish an effective blood donation organization, thus filling a significant gap in the Lebanese health system. Through networks and partnerships with hospitals and communities, one very important component of the Lebanese health system has been significantly improved.

 
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