Centro Hospitalar Universitário São João
Innovative communication strategies used for community mobilization during COVID-19 blood donation crisis
Centro Hospitalar Universitario São João is the largest hospital in Portugal’s northern region. It operates a large and self-sufficient blood bank, capable of conducting over 25,000 transfusions to over 6,000 patients annually.
Historically, the São João Blood Bank collects 20,000 blood donations yearly. But during the early stages of the pandemic, blood donations decreased by 40%. To remedy this, the Blood Bank team worked with various stakeholders to develop an effective communication strategy and encourage eligible donors to continue to donate.
With the help of various departments, the Blood Bank team was able to raise awareness on the need for blood donations during a pandemic. The online content was created between the 1st of March and 31st of August of 2020, reached over 330,500 people, and generated over 11,700 interactions, shares and comments, 1,000 new social network followers, and 260 direct conversations. All of these materials were also developed organically and without any costs.
As a result, 10,428 came to donate blood. Out of this number, about 1,400 people are first-time donors, indicating a significant 31% increase in the number of new donors. Moreover, 243 individuals donated 554 platelet components, representing an 8.8% increase. A total of 2435 patients received 9,644 red blood cell and platelet transfusions. São João Blood Bank was able to transfer excess blood components to the national reserves, to be used by other hospitals in need.