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Refugee awareness of a transformative intervention to increase blood donations

Michael Jay Polonsky (Department of Marketing, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Ahmed Ferdous (Department of Marketing, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Nichola Robertson (Department of Marketing, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Sandra Jones (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia)
Andre Renzaho (School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Joanne Telenta (Drug and Alcohol COORDINARE, South Eastern NSW PHN, Wollongong, Australia)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 14 March 2022

Issue publication date: 15 February 2023




This study aims to test the efficacy of the awareness of a transformative health service communication intervention targeted to African refugees in Australia, designed to increase their intentions to participate in blood donation and reduce any identified barriers.


Following the intervention launch, a survey was administered to African refugees. The data were analysed with structural equation modelling.


Intervention awareness increases refugees’ blood donation knowledge and intentions. Although it has no direct effect on refugees’ medical mistrust or perceived discrimination, intervention awareness indirectly reduces medical mistrust. The findings, thus, suggest that the intervention was transformative: it directly and indirectly reduced barriers to refugee participation in blood donation services.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include a relatively small sample size, single-country context and measures that address blood donation intentions versus behaviours.

Social implications

Addressing health service inequities through intervention awareness, via the mere exposure effect, can facilitate refugees’ health service participation and inclusion.


This study contributes to transformative service research and responds to calls to improve individual and community well-being by testing a transformative intervention targeted towards vulnerable consumers. Not all targeted refugees donated blood, but being encouraged to participate in this health service within the host society can foster their greater inclusion.



The authors acknowledge the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the Australian governments that fund it for the provision of blood, blood products and services to the Australian community. They also acknowledge the staff at the Blood Service and the African communities for participating in the study and the African Review Panel for acting as a steering committee for this project.

This work was supported by an Australia Research Council Linkage Grant (LP120200065). Author X was supported by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT120100932), and Author Y was supported by an ARC Future Fellowship.


Polonsky, M.J., Ferdous, A., Robertson, N., Jones, S., Renzaho, A. and Telenta, J. (2023), "Refugee awareness of a transformative intervention to increase blood donations", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 138-154.



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