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Dugong Atenista marks 5th year

ADNU President Fr. Primitivo E. Viray Jr., S.J. donating blood as Ateneo de Naga University Community celebrates the fifth anniversary of Dugong Atenista.

The Ateneo de Naga University Community celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dugong Atenista during the program’s tenth bloodletting activity on December 4, 2011 at Xavier Hall, ADNU. Some 265 donors participated in this activity, surpassing the program’s own record in July 2011 (263).  This number, according to organizers Office of Student Affairs (OSA) and Bicol Medical Center (BMC), is the highest in a single setting by a private institution at least in Bicol. In sum, the program has collected 1,835 donations in half a decade.

Launched in 2007, the Dugong Atenista program was created by the OSA and BMC, to respond to medical needs of the University community. The two parties were impressed by the ADNU community’s initial reception of the program and cognizant of the growing needs for safe and available blood during emergencies, so they formalized their partnership in a Memorandum of Agreement in January 2008. The OSA in July 2008 redesigned Dugong Atenista as a formation program, by introducing processing sessions to deepen the experiences of donors, especially students.

The program has organized ten blood drives in five years. Traditionally, these activities have been conducted twice a year - during the feasts of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier.

In the latest Xavier Day activity, the students were again the top-donor sector, registering 223 donors or 84 percent of the total donations. Many students said that they represented some twenty-seven student organizations. The top-donors groups were the Association of Nursing Students of Ateneo, Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants, Days with the Lord-Men and Ateneo Dance Club (ADC), CFC-Youth for Christ, Center for Community Development Voltz, Association of Psychology Students of Ateneo, Gabay Scholars and Uswag Junior Eagles. Interestingly, the Ateneo Golden Knights, the school’s basketball varsity, made their presence felt in the activity as donor-team.

The faculty and staff, combined, contributed 18 donors. The alumni, further, increased their number by 30 percent, with 17 donors. There were seven non-Atenean donors.

The number of repeat-donors (163) increased by 23 percent. According to the organizers, the growth in the number of regular donors is a success indicator of the program’s formative intent. On the other hand, there were 81 individuals who donated for the first time. Together, the figures of repeat and first time donations affirm the sustainability of the program.

Some of the donors were University President Fr. Primitivo Viray, S.J., University Treasurer Ramon Nonito Ayo, and Supreme Student Government President Ludel Maiello Mier. A Dugong Atenista regular, Theology faculty Janthe Bagadion bled for the tenth time.

The organizers are determined to sustain the program as they recognize the importance of the advocacy and the need of the community. In five years, Dugong Atenista has benefitted close to 200 referrals for Ateneans, including their immediate families and friends. It has helped hundreds of unknown patients in the external community as facilitated by BMC.

To respond more to patients in need of blood platelets, instead of plasma, the OSA has developed a database of recruited on-call donors. These donors are those who do not donate in the two bloodletting activities but become available for cases like dengue.

The program has also facilitated the formation of donors and volunteers. The Donor Care, composed of Nursing students, are trained by BMC and tasked to assists the phlebotomists during the extraction of blood in the drives. The OSA has also tapped volunteer-organizations like the ADC and Red Cross Youth-ADNU Chapter who help the organizers during promotion or advocacy campaign and actual bloodletting activities. (By Rodolfo SB. Virtus Jr.)