The Federation calls for blood donors to regain the right to take time off work

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The Portuguese Federation of Voluntary Blood Donors (FEPODABES) today called for blood donors to regain the right to be absent from work on the day of donation, a possibility that was taken away from them in 2011 and never reinstated.

In a statement relating to World Blood Donor Day, which will be celebrated next Wednesday, the federation also calls for the regulation of the blood donor status, which was approved in 2012 and which, it says, having never been regulated, includes measures that are not being respected.

With regard to the work exemption, FEPODABES, pointing out that every day around 1,000 to 1,100 units of blood are needed, states that since 2011 donors have not been entitled to the exemption and that this has a direct impact on the number of donors.

Alberto Mota, president of FEPODABES, told Lusa that the issue was being debated in parliamentary commission, but regretted that more than ten years had passed and nothing had been done to restore the situation.

“We need blood every day and people don’t stop working to give blood. But who can guarantee that the donor is completely recovered after giving blood, especially if he or she is doing hard work?” asked Alberto Mota.

The official stressed that, as well as being fair, the measure would attract more donors, as currently the number of donors is still below the figures for 2010, when the country was close to self-sufficiency.

The figures for 2021 are 370,000 units of blood, and with 380,000 units, the country would be close to self-sufficiency, he said.

Another objective of FEPODABES is to get hospitals more involved in blood donation.

According to Alberto Mota, Portugal has 28 hospitals that collect blood and 12 that are part of the national plasma utilization strategic program.

With over 200 hospitals in the country, the president wondered why other hospitals don’t encourage blood donation, given that they are the main consumers of blood.

Even if blood donations are not collected, he told Lusa, they should be encouraged in hospitals, including private ones.

In its statement, the federation points out that blood is essential for urgent treatments and interventions, and can help patients with life-threatening conditions, as well as support complex medical and surgical procedures.

“Blood is also vital for treating the injured in emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and plays an essential role in maternal and neonatal care,” it adds.

FEPODABES points out that in 2005, the World Health Assembly designated a special day to thank blood donors and encourage more people to give blood. June 14 was chosen in honor of the birth of Karl Landsteiner, the Austrian immunologist who discovered the Rh factor and the various differences between blood groups.

This year’s motto is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often”.

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