Associate Professor Andrey Andreev, National Center of Hematology and Transfusiology Director, in an interview with FOCUS Radio
Host: Due to a shortage of blood and blood products from blood types A and 0, the Bulgarian Ministry of Healthcare and National Center of Hematology and Transfusiology called for blood donation from people with the previously mentioned types. How many people have donated blood since the start of the campaign?
Andrey Andreev: Since the start of the campaign, actually it started in the late afternoon of Thursday, 595 people have donated blood, or about 72% of all people who have donated blood. They are 819 in total and 72% of them donated blood after we made the call. These are the results in Sofia; I do not have any information about the other centers. The Ministry of Healthcare collects it.
Host: And the Healthcare Ministry will make the information available later.
Andrey Andreev: You are supposed to get such information. Today I am sending two of our teams to the ministries that submitted an application on Friday.
Host: Associate Professor Andreev, are there cases of people who want to give blood, but you refuse to take some on medical grounds?
Andrey Andreev: There are quite many cases of this kind. On Saturday we sent back 19 people who did not meet the criteria. They take medications for high blood pressure or endocrine diseases. Some of the people weigh less than 50 kg. We respect the standards strictly. And I am sorry that they want to donate blood, but we cannot violate the principles for preserving their health.
Host: Could you remind the criteria a person has to meet in order to become a blood donor?
Andrey Andreev: You should take a rest before donating blood, be healthy, should not take any medications, should be between 18 and 65 years of age and weight more than 50 kg. These are the conditions. Before coming you should have breakfast, lunch, it depends on the time, and should drink fluids. What is important is to have desire to donate blood.
Host: How frequently can you donate blood?
Andrey Andreev: Women once in 3 months and men – once in two months. In total – men five times a year, women four times a year. But this is according to the normative documents. We would be content, if you decide to give blood at least twice a year. Then these calls and pleas would be useless.
Host: Is there any risk of infection, while donating blood?
Andrey Andreev: I categorically forbid to think in this way, because if you have donated blood, you have seen that everything used during the blood donation process is individual. It is impossible to use it second, third, fifth time, as some media used to write. Blood donation is absolutely harmless.
Host: A lot of people would like to donate blood, but cannot find time. Do you plan to make your groups more mobile?
Andrey Andreev: It depends on the wishes and on the places we will be invited to. These are usually big establishments where we can situate. So we have suggested – when we are invited, we will come.
Host: How many liters of blood do hospitals in Sofia need a day?
Andrey Andreev: I will not tell you how many liters. 150-160 blood donors are necessary a day.
Host: Do you manage to ensure the necessary number of blood donors?
Andrey Andreev: We rarely do and that’s why this situation has arisen – to ask the public for help. I would like to reiterate that we do this for the first time.
Host: Are there regular blood donors? How many are they?
Andrey Andreev: We have regular voluntary blood donors. They are about 20%.
Host: What is Bulgaria’s rank in terms of blood donation, responsiveness to helping other people by donating blood?
Andrey Andreev: We are not at the bottom and we are not on the top; we are below the happy medium. Currently there are 22 blood donations in 1,000 people.
Host: What is your call to all people?
Andrey Andreev: Well, this is a personal decision, a gesture of nobility, of help to those who need it. As you can see, road accidents still occur. If today a person close to you needs blood transfusion, tomorrow you could be the next and you should realize that you should help the others. There is no other choice. Blood can come only from a healthy and living person and from nowhere else.