Blood donations in Greece are insufficient to cover high blood transfusion needs.
Switzerland, Greece’s main blood donor, will reduce blood donations forcing the Greek government to take measures to motivate more people in Greece to donate blood on a regular basis.
According to the National Blood Center, the country to fully meet demand for blood needs 700,000 blood units annually. The national blood “tank” fills after continuous efforts with 600,000 to 670,000 units of blood from local collection (45% of volunteer donors and the rest from patients’ relatives who donate occasionally) and gets 30,000 units of blood from Switzerland worth about 4 million euros.
Switzerland has informed the Ministry of Health that from 2015 it will give Greece 2,500 units of blood less annually.
The Greeks were not caught off guard since the agreement with Switzerland was made for 20 years so that Greece would have the time to create a strong blood donors body, which, stills remains an issue.
The new blood donation schedule is viewing the creation of four blood centers in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion until the end of the year. These four centers will be responsible for the molecular testing of blood in place of the nine existing centers.
Blood transfusion is vital in the treatment of people suffering from various acute and chronic diseases and it permits safe surgery. Human blood should be recognised as a national resource to be shared with those whose life or health depends on its availability, safety and appropriate use.
To keep blood donors giving depends largely on their satisfaction with the blood services. A warm welcome by qualified personnel who pay attention to the donors’ well-being is essential. Donors who feel comfortable in the blood center will come again and bring their family members and friends. In Greece, blood centers have reduced their services and food given to the volunteers due to financial problems. This is one of the reasons why people do not donate blood.