Blood donating marathon aims high
Catalan Health Department expects 8,000 people to take part in one week
The new flu outbreak affecting Catalonia is lowering the supplies of blood available for transfusions. It happens every winter and because of this, the Catalan Blood and Tissue Bank – run by the Catalan Health Department – is launching once again a donation marathon starting this Friday. The aim of the initiative is to attract at least 8,000 people to the Catalan hospitals in a week. Yet organizers hope that the figure is higher than last year, which was 11,662, as the flu outbreak has lowered the blood reserves by 15%.
The Christmas holiday is also to account for the higher need of blood donors in January. Indeed, earlier this week a Blood and Tissue Bank official stated that Catalonia has currently 5,500 bags of blood available, a “poor” figure. There is a special lack of the O- blood type, for which there is a reserve of less than three days. “Donating blood is donating life to people, it is improving life for people,” said the director of the Catalan Health Service , David Elvira, on Friday. He added that half of the blood usually goes to “oncological processes or anemia,” but a third of it is used after accidents or similar emergencies.
This year, for the first time ever donors will receive a message on their phones once their blood has been used. “Today your blood has been sent to a hospital for the patients who need it,” will be the text that donors will receive. This initiative was first carried out in Sweden one and a half years ago and it has also been implemented in several countries since then.
While the Health Department hopes for success in the marathon, it can already celebrate good figures for transplants and organ donations last year. On Thursday it came out that in 2017, Catalan hospitals conducted an all-time record of 1,106 organ transplants. This means 146.5 of these operations per million people, one of the highest rates in the world. In terms of organ donors, the figure is 333 for 2017, which means 44.1 donors per million citizens, showing an increase of 5.7%.