COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Support to "SolidAvis": Blood Donation as a Form of Solidarity and Integration during the Pandemic

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Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: January 2020 - Project end date: July 2021
Project number: 2020-036
Beneficiary: Avis Comunale Roma Odv

AVIS association was born in May 1927 in Milan and then spread over the whole national territory. It currently has over 3,400 locations (a number that also includes 19 locations founded in Switzerland by Italian emigrants in the 1960s).
Italy has now become the destination of migrants from being a country of emigration, especially from Eastern Europe, North Africa and Latin America. 
The immigrants present in our country are an important resource and must be involved not only in the world of work, but also in the deeper and broader process of social integration which passes through voluntary activities such as blood donation. The need for blood never ceases. There will always be someone who needs our help, a bag of blood to be able to heal from a serious illness or to overcome a dangerous bleeding. Therefore, the involvement of foreigners present in Italy is an important resource for dealing with emergency situations and for ensuring the self-sufficiency of blood. But in addition to this, the emphasis is also placed on the "integrating" function that the gesture of blood donation offers to immigrants. By making him or herself available, the foreigner perceives himself as a member of Italian civil society and therefore feels accepted by the community in which he lives and who has welcomed him. Approaching AVIS means more and more, therefore, also socializing and interacting with people of different origins, ethnicity, race and cultural backgrounds.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency there has been in many Italian regions a serious shortage of donations, due to restrictions in people’s movement and in some areas Health Authorities did not allow blood sessions on mobile units.  
There is a need to pay attention to "new citizens" by re-initiating a dialogue of mutual knowledge, which, starting from the differences, tends to build a sharing of common values and practices through the donation. In this sense, civil commitment through willing donation is a priority to ensure that Rome may have enough blood reserves.
A common condition for these needs is to consider blood donation not only as a medical-health act but as the choice that an individual makes to donate a part of him or herself, to an unknown, other person, which may be regarded as society at large.

AVIS will carry out, for one year, specific tests through pre-donation activities by collecting test tubes on potential traveling donors and residents belonging to different ethnic communities.
In particular:
- promotion of the initiatives, coordination and management of meetings and appointments;
- auto-blood bank to be placed in a location in Rome easily reachable by Metro line B;
- health workers team (doctor and nurse);
- medical material to carry our specific medical tests;
-  collaboration with related health care institutions.
The purchase and use of medical instruments, with related consumables, is envisaged within the PRE-DONATION SCREENING process placed in the auto-blood bank.

This project received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation to monitor and support services for potential donors, aiming at:
- a cluster of potential specific donors, identified by doctors according to personal characteristics or for specific individual conditions;
- citizens who confirm their desire to become donors, as a consequence of test results.

The total expected number is at least 3,000 people, tested, based on the population living in Rome in the donation age range between 18-64 years.

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