Blood donations

Blood donations needed due to low stock levels

2023 got off to great start but donations dropped in February and March

The Portuguese blood and transplantation institute (IPST) is appealing for blood donations due to low stock levels caused by a drop in donations in February and March.

Speaking to journalists on behalf of the head of the IPST, the director of the centre of Porto, Jorge Condeço, stressed: “Donations do not take long and are very important”.

On National Blood Donor Day, Condeço said that “reserves are at levels that need attention”.

“We can all contribute a little bit and not just in appeals because appeals are short-lived in space and time. In 2022 we were in line with 2021 and 2021 was a good year. In 2022 there was a small drop, but it was an acceptable year. We started January with very good data and we were happy, but in February and March there was a drop and that drop probably has to do with all the social concern that reigned,” he said.

Strikes, difficulties with commuting, cold-related issues, crises of influenza and respiratory viruses could be the causes of this drop, listed the director of the Porto Blood and Transplantation Centre, stressing that “we need to recover stocks in the coming months”.

Young adults will have to play a key role in this recovery, Condeço said.

“They are fundamental. In 2021 we had a fantastic year because we had 16% new donors between the ages of 18 and 25,” he explained, adding that the demographic crisis affecting Portugal also has an effect on blood donations.

The director of the Porto centre also explained that donated blood is separated into three components: red cells, plasma and platelets, the last of which has an ‘expiration date’ of just seven days.

“That’s the big problem we have [at the moment]. We need a continuous flow of blood donations to be able to reach patients every day with platelets because after seven days they expire and we have to make a new cycle,” he explained.

The official was speaking on the sidelines of a conference dedicated to the National Blood Donor Day, held on Monday morning at the Almeida Garrett Library in the Gardens of the Crystal Palace in Porto.

He was speaking next to a placard that read “Come on! Giving blood saves lives”, which is the motto of the campaign launched by the IPST.

According to a statement on the IPST website, to be a blood donor you must feel healthy, have healthy living habits, and undergo a medical examination. Donors need to weigh at least 50 kilos and be aged at least 18.

The National Blood Donor Day that is celebrated today serves to honour the donors who fulfil their duty of citizenship with a simple and altruistic gesture which is capable of saving lives.

Source: Lusa