The hand of a blood donor squeezing a medical rubber ball

Call for people to give blood in Portugal as reserves run dangerously low

Blood reserves in hospitals have reached a critical point. Depending on the blood type, there are between four and 19 days before stocks run dry.

The most urgent need is for donations of A+, A-, O- and B-.

The Portuguese Blood Institute has thus sent out a press release explaining that the months of January and February are traditionally “particularly demanding for the maintenance of blood stocks at comfortable levels”. This is due to the ‘cold weather and associated illnesses’. But this year the situation has been ‘aggravated by the pandemic and measures of confinement’. Less people have been giving blood than usual, and stocks are too low.

Says the statement, there are only four days of stocks of A+ (the most prevalent blood group within the Portuguese population), five for O- (the so-called universal blood type) and B- , though “the national strategic reserve” retains stocks for 12-35 days of all blood types.

The slogan for this latest exhortation to citizens to give blood is “even in times of pandemic it is possible to continue to help to save lives”.

The Institute stresses that people are allowed to leave their homes if they are going to give blood.

Requirements for donors are to be over the age of 18, weigh a minimum of 50 kilos and practice a healthy lifestyle.

Promoting the appeal, the president of the federation of blood donors Alberto Mota said reserves of O+, A- and AB- were a ‘little better’ than the others, but still “not good”.

The problem with donations are that in the main these can only be given at the three main blood donation centres in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra (click here).
Mobile units are not circulating (because of the pandemic).

Anyone in the Algarve keen to give blood should telephone ahead to either Portimão or Faro hospital (282 450 300 and 289 891 275) to find out when it is possible.

Anyone who was living in UK in between 1980 and 1996 may find their blood is not ‘accepted’ in Portugal due to the issues with of Mad Cow Disease in the 80s and 90s.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com