Bulgaria's Capital Sofia Puts out Urgent Call for Blood DonorsHealth | September 13, 2012, Thursday // 13:52| views
Bulgaria lags far behind international standards for blood donation – 23-25 donors per 1,000 people against the required 50 donors per 1,000 people. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
An unusually high number of surgeries in the Bulgarian capital Sofia has depleted blood reserves, prompting officials to issue an urgent call for donors.
The most acute shortage is for blood type A and 0, the Health Ministry and the National Transfusion Centre alarmed in a joint statement.
The number of blood transfusions has risen sharply over the last few days due to large number of surgeries in Sofia and Western Bulgaria, as well as the treatment of people suffering from grave hematology illnesses.
Relatives and friends of people in need of blood transfusion are usually the only blood donors in today's Bulgaria.
Those who can not rely on relatives to donate the needed blood, fall an easy prey to the black market dealers.
Lingering around the National Transfusion Centre, groups of gypsies may look like any other Roma men who roam along the suburban streets of the capital, but their real purpose is trading blood for money.
The Roma charge from BGN 100 to BGN 400 for the priceless document that proves one of them has donated at least 450 ml of blood.
The black market for blood has recently seen some upgrade with the dealers starting to do business online, which only cemented their status as a staple, though stark, example of health care reminiscent more of a third world country than an EU member state.
It is only after the start of the transition period that Bulgarian hospitals became chronically short of blood for transfusion. Under the communist regime hospitals disposed of sufficient amounts of blood reserves as blood donation campaigns were obligatory.
The number of blood donors shrank dramatically since the fall of communism, leaving patients with yet another psychological obstacle to overcome beside the disease itself and the hospitals' insufficient capacity.
Data shows that Bulgaria lags far behind international standards for blood donation – 23-25 donors per 1,000 people against the required 50 donors per 1,000 people.
Poor economic conditions and low living standards top the list of reasons, together with the fact that blood donation costs time, some pain, and occasionally unpleasant consequences.
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