Joint project of the Finnish Red Cross and the Thai Red Cross
After the tsunami catastrophe in Asia in 2004, the Finnish Red Cross channelled aid to the affected area, one aim being to develop health care. This included the area’s blood services. Aid was directed particularly at the six severely hit provinces bordering the Andaman Sea.
There was a clear need to develop blood services in the region. The Finnish Red Cross started a project with the Thai Red Cross aimed at establishing a new working model for the Phuket region. The idea was for the Thai Red Cross to be responsible for collecting the blood and for producing blood products for the needs of the hospitals in the region.
The project was implemented as part of the tsunami help provided by the Finnish Red Cross. The project to build a regional centre in Phuket was launched in 2007, and the new centre opened in August 2009. In addition to the construction project, the experts of the Finnish Red Cross and Thai Red Cross developed working models for blood services and trained the blood service and hospital blood centre personnel. A mobile blood service was also started in Phuket.
As part of the aid, the Finnish Red Cross provided the hospital blood centres with equipment, including refrigerators, freezers, blood bag mixers and sealing machines. Donations were used to support the critical basic processes, such as blood collection and the cold chain. The Finnish Red Cross also employed coordinators to recruit blood donors in each of the six provinces and to organise mobile blood services and links with workplaces, schools and other communities.
The objectives of the project were met. Phuket’s regional centre, which opened in autumn 2009, is a model example of how to arrange regional blood services in Southeast Asia. The new arrangements will be of long-lasting benefit to the provinces in the area.