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MfD: Czech Republic needs 100,000 blood donors

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Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) – The Czech Republic lacks more than 100,000 blood donors due to which hospitals, mainly in large towns, have problems to secure blood transfusions, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Tuesday.

In early January, the Teaching Hospital in Plzen, west Bohemia, reported an acute lack of blood. The situation was so alarming that the hospital asked for help in the nationwide media.

In the summer, hospitals in north Moravia faced similar problems. Many voluntary donors were on holiday then and the number of road accidents was rising, MfD writes.

At present, there are some 250,000 voluntary blood donors in the country with a population of 10.5 million, which is far below the 4 percent of inhabitants that the Council of Europe recommends as a sufficient share of blood donors, MfD writes.

However, instead of motivating people to donate blood, health insurers have limited their advantages for regular blood donors, such as a financial contribution to vitamins. Besides, some employers refuse to give paid time off to blood donors though they are entitled to it under law, MfD writes.

The Interior Ministry’s Health Insurance Company, the largest employees’ insurer in the country with more than 1.2 million clients, recently cancelled free vitamins for blood donors after every blood collection.

Now it provides only 100 crowns for vitamins a year for them. But this sum does not suffice to buy the necessary vitamins that considerably influence the blood quality, MfD says.

Moreover, hospitals that need blood for Czech patients from volunteers willing to donate it for free must compete with commercial stations collecting blood plasma for money. These private firms pay up to 600 crowns per blood collection, while people can donate blood plasma twice a month, MfD writes.

Commercial blood plasma centres operate mainly in large towns that suffer from the lack of blood donors. They do not use the collected plasma for the treatment of Czech patients, but they are trading in it. Foreign firms produce medicines of it, head doctor Petr Biedermann said.

“These centres cause an outflow of voluntary blood donors”, Jitka Kracikova, head doctor of the transfusion ward of the Prague-Vinohrady Teaching Hospital, told MfD.

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