Establishing global networks for sustainable life-saving efforts: Signing MOUs with overseas agencies and organizations

Blood is a substance of life, which cannot be replaced by anything else, and is also a mysterious substance that cannot yet be made by human technology. In times of urgent crisis, blood supply is like giving life. So blood donation is called life sharing.

The WeLoveU, which has been giving love and life to the global villagers through worldwide blood drives, set up a forum to look for life-saving efforts through blood donation and to establish networks for this. From May 22 to May 24, the Save the World Global Forum 2019 was held by the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation with the support of Korean Red Cross; Honduran Permanent Commission for Contingencies; WeDoHelp, Dhakabashi Organization; Sejong Hospital; and Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Followed by the Save the World Global Forum 2018 that was held in November last year, this forum was held on the subject, “Establishment of Global Network for Sustainable Life–Saving Efforts.” There, Korean and overseas government agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs put their heads together.

국제WeLoveU 2019 세이브더월드 국제포럼 참여자들의 모습

At the Save the World Global Forum 2019 that was held at Songdo Convensia in Incheon at 10 a.m. on the 23rd together with its opening ceremony, more than 300 people from all walks of life participated, including officials from the UN DGC, various government agencies, academic institutions, Korean Red Cross, and NGOs.

2019 세이브더월드 국제포럼 개회식에서 개회사를 연설하고 있는 국제WeLoveU 장길자 회장

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah mentioned that the supply of blood is so low against the demand, and asked for citizens’ interest and participation, saying, “Blood donation is sharing life, which is essential from a humanitarian perspective.” Also, she said that the role of government agencies and NGOs is important in correcting misunderstandings and prejudices against blood donation, and hoped that the forum would become an opportunity to enlighten citizens to love for mankind and world peace.

2019 세이브더월드 국제포럼 기조연설자 피터 도킨스 (UN DGC 웹디지털본부 최고책임자)

Richard Blumenthal the Senator of the United States sent a video message of support and encouragement to the WeLoveU. Peter Dawkins the Chief of United Nations Web Services Section delivered the keynote address and explained the United Nations’ efforts to ease the worldwide blood supply shortage, and expected the WeLoveU to help implement the UN Sustainable Developmental Goals [SDGs] as an NGO associated with the UN DGC.

NGO세션에서 국제위러브유운동본부(국제WeLoveU) 김주철 부회장이 발표하는 모습

After the keynote address, the presentations of the nine speakers were conducted in the order of government agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs. Speakers from seven countries provided new knowledge and information on blood donation and blood management, mentioning examples from each country. While emphasizing the preciousness of life and the value of blood donation, they all said with one voice that there is a need for network for citizens’ steady participation in blood donation and for systematic blood supply and management. In the academic circle, a prospect of bloodless surgery that minimizes blood use during surgery was also presented as a way to overcome the increasing blood shortage problem.

Lee Hye-kyung, a professor of Natural Science College at Ewha Womans University, moderated a panel discussions on practical ways to establish and maintain global networks for life-saving efforts. After the heated discussion, Chairman Zahng Gil-jah delivered plaques of appreciation to the keynote speaker and the presenters, and the forum ended.

Juan Carlos Marquez the Head of the Mexican Red Cross in Queretaro said, “It is imperative to establish networks between agencies and countries to send blood to where it is needed without disposing it after expiration date. I will make efforts to reflect what we discussed today in the Mexican medical community.”

This day, there was a panel exhibition on the value and necessity of blood donation, and the importance of action for this and international cooperation. On the last part of the panel, the string art enlightened people to the meaning of global family by expressing that the seven billion people are connected through blood.

So far, about 37,000 members and citizens have participated in the worldwide blood drive, which has been conducted 160 times by the WeLoveU. Rozilene Neves, a nurse at Obstetrics and Gynecology, explained the situation of hospitals, saying, “Blood is the most important thing when we save lives. In the case of urgent surgery or emergency patients, life is in danger if blood is not supplied immediately. However, since we were short on blood, many times we had to anxiously wait for the blood to arrive.” To the blood drive participants, she said, “You all have done a very important and valuable task of saving lives. The patients’ families will be very thankful to all of you.”

On the other hand, the WeLoveU signed MOUs with the Honduran Permanent Commission for Contingencies, Honduran Ambassador to Korea, Ministry of Health of Chile, WeDoHelp, Dhakabashi Organization, and TOVA Community Health, and promised with them to cooperate on efforts in expanding voluntary non-remunerated blood donation and raising public awareness of it. This is in line with the implementation of the third, fourth, and seventeenth UN SDGs (good health and well-being; quality education; and partnerships for the goals). The WeDoHelp is a women’s organization that helps children with disabilities in Iraq, and the Dhakabashi Organization is an NGO associated with UN DGC working on climate change response and life-saving efforts in Bangladesh. TOVA Community Health in the United States is a local medical organization that helps patients with sickle-cell anemia that can only be treated with blood transfusions.

Nina F. Anderson the President of TOVA Community Health said, “By working with organizations such as the WeLoveU, we can inform communities of the importance to participate in the blood donation for the treatment of rare diseases, and can draw public attention,” and expressed her gratitude to the WeLoveU for setting up a forum to establish networks. Zena Al-Qaragholi the President of WeDoHelp said, “Through this MOU we signed today, we will be able to give more help to the children with disabilities, who are suffering from IS terrorism in Iraq.”

This day, with a wider solidarity, the WeLoveU laid the foundation for sustainable life-saving efforts.  It was a meaningful time to support saving the life of mankind and protecting the sanctity of life with the heart of a mother.