Fixed acute shortage of blood donations

A woman donates blood in the DRK blood donation center.

A woman donates blood in the DRK blood donation center.

Source: Oliver Berg/dpa/archive image

Blood products are vital for some patients in the hospital. But until a few weeks ago there was a dramatic bottleneck. Prime Minister Wüst calls on people not to shy away from the small spade for donating blood.

NAfter a critical shortage of blood supplies for hospitals in the country at times, the situation has eased somewhat. “After our alarm calls in the past few weeks, we have seen a very high willingness to donate,” said Stephan David Küpper from the DRK Blood Donation Service West. “Fortunately, this means we can supply the clinics again without restrictions.” Now it is important to stabilize the situation in the long term. Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) appealed: “I would be happy if more people would make the small effort and thus do a great service for the community.”

In Münster, Wüst put his intention into action on Thursday. At the blood donation center of the university hospital, he had half a liter of blood taken. “During my studies, I managed to do it more often than in the last few years. But I want to try to do it more regularly in the future, »he told the German Press Agency. “Every blood donation helps people in need and, in case of doubt, saves lives – and each of us can be dependent on a blood donation at some point,” said the NRW head of government.

At the beginning of January, the camps at the DRK Blood Donation Service West, the largest provider in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, were almost empty. For some blood groups, the clinics could only be supplied with half of the quantities actually ordered, said Küpper. Stored blood is required, for example, for operations, in cancer therapy or for accident victims.

After the calls at the beginning of the year, the number of donors went up significantly. “Many people who haven’t donated for a long time have come back in the past few weeks,” said Küpper. And almost more important for the Red Cross: 13 percent were first-time donors – significantly more than in normal months.

In order to be able to reliably supply hospital patients with blood in the long term, it is important that more people come regularly to donate blood, said DRK spokesman Küpper. According to experts, the willingness to donate blood is falling continuously – in urban areas it is still significantly lower than in rural areas. The big clinics in the West, which also have their own blood donation centers, are struggling with the same problems as the Red Cross. Overall, only three percent of the population capable of donating actually donate blood. The industry is therefore mainly courting young people who are not yet blood donors.

“We are now looking forward to the next few months. It will be decisive whether the people who donated blood after our alarm calls come back at the next appointment, »said Küpper. “We urgently need this continuity. Because we need blood donations every day.”

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