Lake Constance County: The desire to donate blood is falling, and the supply is shrinking

This is an easy way to save lives, but getting people to donate blood becomes more and more difficult. In June, the German Red Cross (DRC) noted a decline in donation willingness, which has already led to a critical supply situation across the country. The bottleneck is also an issue in the region: “To our chagrin, the response to our donation deadlines is weak,” reports Alfred Kneer of the DRC blood service in Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. The speaker organizes blood donation campaigns together with local associations and therefore came to Frickingen on that day.

Alfred Kneer of the blood donation office

Alfred Kneer from the blood donation service | Photo: Altmann, Miriam

Leisure activities reduce the willingness to donate

There is lively activity in Graf-Burchard-Halle, but no hustle and bustle. The weather is nice, the calendar of events is full again – and according to Kneer, this is what is stopping some people from donating blood: After a long phase of pandemic restrictions, he found that spending priorities have shifted. “During the Corona Summit, people were almost happy to leave, even if it was ‘just’ to donate blood,” says the organizer. Therefore, the willingness and reliability in making donations was higher than at present. “Now about ten percent of those who signed up have missed their visit,” Kneer reveals, “unfortunately one or the other donor bed remains empty.”

Good stakes in the blood donation campaign in Frickingen

Johann Thum, vice president of the local Salemertal association, also reports an increased willingness to donate at the start of the pandemic. In the meantime, he is almost back to the baseline, describing his perception. In Frickingen, the June donation figure was slightly above average, Thum later reported: “We were able to accept 301 donors. The blood donation service was able to obtain canned goods from 284 donors, 18 of whom were donors for the first time ”. 17 blood donors could not be admitted for medical reasons.

Johann Thum from DRC Salemertal

Johann Thum from DRC Salemertal | Photo: Altmann, Miriam

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Various grounds for foreclosure

The number of exclusions varies from time to time, says Anna-Elisabeth Feldmeier, senior physician on site. “Sometimes you are lucky and only fit, healthy people come,” he gives an example. But anyone who has recently had a puncture, colonoscopy, or certain vaccinations may not always know about the appropriate return times and may be sent back. “The most common thing is high blood pressure,” says a retired doctor, sharing her experience. To ensure that those affected do not have any circulatory problems after donation, they are excluded for safety reasons.

Anna-Elisabeth Feldmeier, senior physician

Anna-Elisabeth Feldmeier, senior doctor | Photo: Altmann, Miriam

Breastfeeding women may donate under certain circumstances

Another group that is essentially deferred is those who are breastfeeding. “The body should have time to regenerate,” explains Anna-Elisabeth Feldmeier. This rule is to ensure that neither the mother nor the baby get stressed. However, if your baby is older and breastfed only occasionally, options may be considered. “It’s a gray area,” explains the doctor. In the first year after childbirth, she excludes women who are breastfeeding, but if, for example, she breastfed only in the evening after delivery, she would not have any concerns. The main thing is that the symbiosis between mother and child is not disturbed.

Relaxed eligibility criteria for homosexual men

In one respect, the admission criteria have been relaxed last year: “If a homosexual man has been in a stable relationship with another man for four months and neither of them has HIV, he can donate blood,” explains Feldmeier. This puts them roughly on a par with heterosexual couples. Alfred Kneer emphasizes that any person may choose to self-exclude confidentially before donating. If you are in doubt as to whether blood is harmless, you can object to its use.

Taking all precautions into account, the organizers expect an increase in donations. “A decrease means that the supply of individual blood types has decreased,” emphasizes Kneer. Sometimes delivery only takes one day.

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