How often are you asked to donate blood? And how many friends do you have that need regular, suitable blood?
A very small percentage of European youth is asking this question. Many people think that a volunteer and a donor are one and the same. But, unfortunately between them it is impossible to put an equal sign. People are willing to help others, but donate blood, people really do not want to. There are various reasons for this: the fear of needles, the fear of the sight of blood, the fear of becoming infected, laziness, etc. Let's look at the situation in Germany with donors.
On the eve of June 14, when International Blood Donor Day is celebrated, the Federal Center for Health Education urged young people in Germany to donate blood and plasma. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, donor blood is especially urgent and many federal states report drug shortages. "Reliable blood saves lives" is the motto of this year's International Day. It recalls how important it is for the health system to have an uninterrupted supply of blood products. Indeed, if there are enough donors in the country, then treatment can be guaranteed for those patients who need a blood transfusion.
In Germany, becoming a donor is allowed between the ages of 18 and 68, with a weight of at least 50 kg. Older people can do this too, but after an individual consultation with doctors. The Red Cross, which, incidentally, provides most of the donated blood in Germany, does not pay any remuneration to volunteers, but after the procedure they are given food and drinks. Private blood banks and clinics offer € 20 per serving. To provide the necessary supplies for the whole country, donors must donate blood 15,000 times a day. By the way, 20 percent of all donated blood in Germany is used to treat cancer patients.
Berlin is very hopeful that the June 14 rallies will attract more people to donate blood. Experts call the current situation "dramatic." After the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, life in the capital is gradually returning to normal, and hospitals begin to carry out routine operations as usual.
Red Cross experts explain that the lack of blood is not due to the fact that people are not ready to act as donors. The reason is that recently the need for such drugs has increased sharply, and at the same time, many blood transfusion centers have been closed due to restrictive measures. Now everyone can donate blood, but you need to contact the station in advance and arrange for a donation. Many German experts predict that over 20 years, due to the demographic situation in Germany, young donors will become less and less, and the need for drugs will increase.
Due to the shortage of blood products in Germany, the debate about what requirements should be put forward to donors has resumed. So, at present, gays and bisexuals cannot donate blood, provided that during the last year they had sexual contacts with men (this question is in the donor's questionnaire). This order came into force in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Opposition politicians consider it obsolete and discriminatory. So, in the spring, free democrats appealed to the Minister of Health Jens Spahn and the Federal Medical Chamber to demand homosexual men to become blood donors. The initiative was supported by large concerns, including Deutsche Bahn, Ikea, Otto, ThyssenKrupp, which sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Health demanding that men who have sex with men donate blood for donor purposes.
It seems important to me to realize that your help can save a life. Any ESC volunteer can go and become a donor. But, when I proposed at the meeting on Zoom, to go and donate blood, I was supported only by one colleague from Brazil. I was upset, but still we will go to our weekend and donate blood, it’s not difficult for me to send it off. Mimi will go with me. I am glad of this, and I urge you not to be indifferent and go, at least once a year, and donate blood. This is easier than you think, and 20 euros will not be superfluous.