Health actions and campaigns
Donating blood is important. You might want to participate in this campaign for the following reasons:
- You don't need to go to a hospital, everything is set to be easier for you
- You are helping in saving lives
- One day, you may need the blood of another person
Twice a year, in spring and autumn, a blood collect is organised at the University of Geneva. The aim is to raise awareness on blood donation within the university community and to collect as many blood bags as possible to save lives.
During the blood collect weeks, you will find information stands at the entrances of the main buildings (Uni Mail, Uni Dufour, Sciences II). You will be able to register to give blood without going to the hospital.
Everything is done to make the process easy, quick (it takes less than an hour) but strictly professional. During your lunch break or between two classes, certified doctors and experienced nurses will answer all your questions and accompany you throughout the entire process of blood donation.
Medical students will provide you with information and register you for the donation collect on:
- Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 November 2022 | Uni Mail, Sciences II, Uni Dufour | 11:45 to 13:30
Nurses from the HUG Blood Transfusion Centre will be there to collect your donations on:
The blood donation awareness campaign is a joint action of the Health and Psychology Department, the Medical Students Association and the Transfusion Centre of the University Hospitals of Geneva.
Can I give my blood?
If you are motivated to donate blood, but don't know the conditions and requirements, here is the list of criteria to donate blood:
- Be over 18 years old
- Be in good health
- Weigh more than 50 kilos
- Check that you have no contraindications here.
In order to prepare yourself for a blood donation, please make sure that:
- The day before your donation, avoid intensive sports, heavy meals, and alcohol
- The day of the donation, eat a full breakfast (do not come with an empty stomach) and drink 1 litre of water
The steps to donate blood
Donating blood takes less than an hour! Here are the following steps of the appointment:
- You will answer the medical questionnaire that evaluates your current state of health
- You will have a confidential interview with a doctor or a nurse from the Transfusion Centre in order to determine your suitability to donate
- A nurse will check your haemoglobin (finger prick) to rule out the risk of anaemia, and will check your blood pressure and pulse
- The sample will take about 10 minutes, enough to collect 450ml of blood
- You will be offered a small snack so that you can rest for a while
These steps are requirements of the Swiss Transfusion Service to ensure the safety of both the recipients and donors. All information provided is kept in strict confidence.
For further information
Furthermore, you can donate your blood all year round at the Blood Transfusion Centre.
What is a melanoma screening?
Do you think you are not part of the population at risk? No one is immune. It is important to be aware of the risks involved in prolonged and repeated exposure to the sun. This includes any unprotected exposure such as eating on a terrace at lunchtime, playing sports or going for a walk. Malignant melanoma is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer in Switzerland. In Geneva, in particular, studies show the increasing incidence of melanoma (Reference: Epidémiologie du cancer. Le mélanome de la peau: état des lieux et prévention, OFS, 16.04.2012)
We are not all equal when it comes to the sun. It is important to protect yourself according to your own vulnerability. The risk factors are as follows:
- Light skin, type 1 or 2
- Many sunburns before the age of 15
- More than 50 moles larger than 2 mm
- A close relative who has been affected by skin cancer
Tanning is in fact a self‑defence mechanism of the skin against the sun. Under the effect of UV rays, the skin cells called melanocytes produce melanin, a brown pigment that gives the skin its brown colour. As soon as the skin becomes red, it means that it has been attacked. The skin turns red and then brown to protect itself from the sun. There is no such thing as a "healthy" tan for the skin. UV rays cause damage to the skin cells. These cells have a certain capacity to regenerate, but this capacity diminishes with age and exposure to the sun. The skin has a "memory": it records the UV rays that have been absorbed and releases our "sun capital".
Awareness campaign 2023
Did you know that Switzerland is the 2nd most affected country in the world by melanoma, and that the most affected population category is the youth? These statistics have motivated a group of students from the Faculty of Medicine at the UNIGE to raise awareness of the dangers of the sun among the student population and to change their behaviour towards it. Every spring, they organise a a skin cancer prevention week in collaboration with the Health and Psychology Department. The goal of this week is to allow you to come, ask questions if you have any doubts and have your skin examined by professionals.
The screening is completely free and takes place on every location. Nevertheless, registration is mandatory and is only possible at the stands! There is no registration by email or phone. Please also note that the number of places is limited and we cannot guarantee that all the interested people will be able to attend the event.
Information stand and registration for screening
- Uni Mail | April 17 and 18 from 12h to 14h
- CMU | April 17 and 18 from 12pm to 2pm
Screening (on registration at the booths on April 17 and 18 only)
- Uni Mail | May 24 from 9am to 1pm
- CMU | May 28 from 9am to 1pm
How can I protect myself?
The watchword is: prevention! Taking the necessary precautions to preserve your "solar capital" means avoiding irreversible effects. Here some good reasons to change your habits in the sun:
- Delaying the ageing of the skin
- Reducing the risk of developing skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma
Here are some easy steps you can follow to protect your skin:
- Avoid exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm.
- Apply a sun protection product with a minimum protection factor of 30, in good quantity (30ml for the whole body of an adult), 30 minutes before exposure and repeat every 2 hours.
- A high SPF does not mean that you can use less protection or expose yourself for longer. The only valid protection is shade.
- Don't forget particularly exposed areas: the back of the neck, the lips, the ears, the calves... especially as we too often forget to protect them.
- The protection factor of your cream should not decrease as summer progresses and your skin tans.
- Respect the expiration dates and keep your cream in the shade and away from the heat.
- Wear a hat and glasses (with a good UV filter).
- Protect yourself not only when lying in the sun, but also under a parasol or on cloudy days, when eating on a terrace or playing sports.
- Avoid the solarium at all costs. It is not a preparation for sun exposure, but instead causes premature ageing of the skin and increases the risk of cancer.
For more information
What is an organ donation?
Organ transplantation is a medical operation of last resort. It is only talen into account when the patient’s condition is deteriorating as such that only the replacement of the failing organ(s) with a heatlhy one can ensure survival. In most cases, transplants come from a deceased donor. Donating organs or tissues after death is an act of generosity that allows transplants to be carried out in order to save another person, adult or child’s life. A single organ donor can save up to seven people. A total of 1436 people were waiting for at least one organ at the end of the third quarter of 2022.
In 2022, the Social Health Pole joined the coordination of organ and tissue donation of the University Hospitals of Geneva to propose 4 days of awareness and information:
- Monday, November 21 | Uni Mail | 10:30 am to 3 pm
- Tuesday, November 22 | Sciences II | 10h30 to 15h
- Wednesday 23 November | Uni Dufour | 10:30 am to 3 pm
- Friday 25 November | CMU | 10h30 to 15h
Professionals will be present at the stands to answer your questions. On site, you will be able to obtain information, fill out a donor card and record your choice, for or against organ and tissue donation.
Who can be a donor?
The removal of one or more organs or tissues is possible after an official declaration of death. In the vast majority of cases, donors are people who have died after a head trauma, a cerebrovascular accident or sometimes after circulatory collapse. The organs are kept in an artificially functioning state until the harvesting operation. It is also possible for a living person to volunteer to donate an organ, in most cases it is a kidney donation.
Everyone can donate their organs. There are few contraindications. There is no maximum or minimum age limit. The health status of the donor is decisive in making a decision on organ donation. Prior to the removal, the function and condition of the various organs are examined individually.
Which organs can be transplanted and for whom?
The organs that can be transplanted to patients on the waiting list are:
- the heart
- the lungs
- the kidneys
- the liver
- the pancreas
- the intestine
There are a lot of serious diseases that can lead to a transplant: end‑stage renal failure, heart disease or malformation, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, certain cancers, etc. Patients are placed on a waiting list and organs are allocated according to a legal framework. After the translplant, the person can almost find his/her previous normal life. They can work, have children, play sports and travel. However, they must take lifelong treatment to avoid rejection of the transplanted organ.
Which tissues can be transplanted and what for?
Some tissues can also be transplanted such as cornea, bones, skin, vessels, heart and lung valves. Tissues are essential for the functioning of the human body. Corneas are essential for sight and can help patients with corneal blindness. Bones, tendons, ligaments and menisci ensure the quality of our movements and can be replaced by grafts to treat various diseases such as bone sarcoma. The vessels, arteries and veins maintain our blood circulation and can be grafted in certain cases of cardiac malformations or prosthesis infections. The skin protects us and can be grafted to treat burn victims.
Expressing your choice
Switzerland is based on the principle of explicit consent, i.e. people must have expressed their wishes through a (paper) donor card or advance directives. If no documents or wishes are found, the relatives will be questioned and they will make their decision based on what the deceased would have wanted. The May 2022 vote adopted the shift to presumed consent in the broad sense. The new system, which will come into effect in 2024 at the earliest, will allow people who do not wish to donate their organs and tissues to register their opposition. Families will still be consulted to verify their loved one's non-objection to donation.
For more information
In addition, the members of the coordination of organ and tissue donation of the University Hospitals of Geneva are also at your disposal to answer your questions regarding organ and tissue donation.
- Office fédéral de la Santé publique
- FAQs ‑ Swisstransplant
- Latin Organ Donation Programme (PLDO in french)
- FAQs ‑ Latin Organ Donation Programme (PLDO in french)
- RTS 1 Report, Temps Présent, november, 2017
- Novel Réparer les vivants, 2014, Maylis de Kerangal, adapted to film in 2016 by Katell Quillévéré
- Testimonial book Vole petit oiseau, vole, 2020, Sophie Beer Coutet
Do you want to launch a Health Action? The Health and Psychology Department consolidates its links to initiate new exchanges and to develop new projects in a collaborative approach. In this spirit of synergy and development of common projects, we can offer our expertise and knowledge of student issues, as well as the resources necessary for the co-construction of common projects.
Do not hesitate to submit us an initiative, a project, or to propose a form of collaboration or interprofessional exchanges. We are at your disposal.