Blood supply in Belgium at alarmingly low level

The blood supply in Belgium is currently at a low level. The number of blood donations has undergone a steep decline since the beginning of the year, while cancellations by blood donors are on the rise. This was reported on Wednesday by the cabinet of federal Public Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Normally, around 500.000 blood bags have to be collected every year to meet the hospitals' needs. Since the beginning of the year, the number of blood collections has fallen by 15 to 20 percent and the number of cancellations by donors is almost 15 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

"Many donors have dropped out and if things continue like this, blood supplies in the hospitals will fall below a critical level"

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the one hand, and widespread flu on the other, are affecting the blood supply. The needs of the hospitals remain constant, but the gap between what is collected and the demand by health institutions is widening. The period July-August is always a delicate period but with the level of blood supply now already alarmingly low, the situation is almost critical, according to Vandenbroucke.

The minister for Public Health visited a donor centre of the Red Cross on Wednesday morning. Here he was given a short tour of the centre, after which he launched aan appeal for people to start donating blood again: "A bag of blood will remain good for 42 days, but no longer - the stock has to be refreshed. Many donors have dropped out and if things continue like this, blood supplies in the hospitals will fall below a critical level and then we really have a problem."


Photo and video show Public Health and Social Affairs minister Frank Vandenbroucke during a visit to a blood donation center of the Red Cross in Brussels. © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE

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