Ateneo de Naga University’s life-saving program Dugong Atenista responded to the call of partner hospital Bicol Medical Center (BMC) to help address the decline in blood donation drives and supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With shortened periods and precautionary measures, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) has already organized two sets of donation drives since the onset of the pandemic. The first set was conducted in the mornings of July 29 and 30, 2021.
The latest bloodletting on March 3 and 4, 2022 marked the start of the outreach-formation program’s 15th anniversary. It also saw an improvement in the number of donors by pandemic standards.
Some 236 blood donors showed up in the most events of Dugong Atenista, which was not far from the average pre-pandemic turnout. More than 40 percent of this number were students, while 26 percent were alumni. Close to 40% of the student-donors represented some 20 recognized school-based organizations, with the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants – ADNU Chapter, Association of Nursing Students of ADNU topping the list of donor-groups.
About 62 percent had already participated in previous installments of the program, while the rest were first-time donors. Most of them indicated in the exit registration that they will participate again in future blood drives.
The College of Nursing continued fielding the Donor Care, which consisted of students and clinical instructors, and assisted the BMC personnel in the pandemic bloodletting activities. The Ateneo Higher Education Health Services Office and the College Red Cross Youth also helped in the March 2022 events.
Dugong Atenista started in July 2007 and was formalized in a Memorandum of Agreement in 2008. It redesigned as a formation program in the same year, as such student donors normally attend an experience-processing session.
The program was recognized by the Bicol Medical Center and Department of Health – Region V for having recruited the most number of blood donors in a single setting for several consecutive years.
For 15 years now, Dugong Atenista has served hundreds of referrals for members and immediate families of the university community. It has helped thousands of patients in Bicol Region as facilitated by the BMC. These services further extended outside the region when the collected blood donations were sent to a ship-hospital in Tacloban, Leyte to supply the needs of patients in the Yolanda-hit area in 2013, and to those affected by the eruptive behavior of Mayon Volcano in Albay in 2018.
In June 2018, the Naga City Government conferred upon ADNU the Mayoral Award – Special Community Service Award for the said program.
The 15th anniversary celebration of Dugong Atenista will continue this year with a two-day drive in August.