Officials' blood to cover donors lack

  • 2000-11-16
  • Andrei Titov
TALLINN - The Estonian National Blood Center lacks some 100 donors a day to cover the medical needs of Tallinn's first-aid hospital and its burn-treatment center. The blood center sometimes has to reject both hospital's and center's requests to deliver blood they need, said Olga Kala, a blood center adviser.

The blood center holds between four and six donor's days per week in order to collect more blood. To promote goodwill and stimulate other people to become donors, the center held a donor's day at the Internal Affairs Ministry on Nov. 3. Tarmo Loodus, the minister, was the first to give blood.

He stressed it was not an act of political publicity but rather one of goodwill to support the people who might need blood one day.

"I have been a donor for more than 25 years and I know it is healthy. I agreed to the idea of a donor's day at our ministry because many young people work here and I thought they could be useful to the blood center," said Loodus.

Other major officials will have a chance to donate their blood at the end of November when a donor's day is scheduled at the Parliament.

In Estonia, as in the majority of civilized nations, donors don't receive money for giving blood. In Soviet Union times, donors were paid for their blood.

Olga Kala, the adviser of the Estonian blood center, doesn't think it was humane practice.

"People here don't realize that they can't expect to earn a living in such a way. If you are indeed a donor, you should help people who really need it without thinking of a reward. It is a pity, but altruists are so rare nowadays," said Kala.

Kala admitted the center has never faced such problems. According to European Union statistics, donors should make up 4 percent of the population. At present, Estonia has about a half of those.

Donor's day occurs once a month at all major Estonian universities. Kala said students are the most cooperative sector of the population regarding donorship. Additionally, blood circulation, vision and brain functions improve after having one's blood taken. "It's most useful for students to do it before exam sessions," said Kala.

A man who is under stress or often experiences strong mental pressure cannot be a donor. When Kala along with her colleagues organized the donor's day at the Interior Ministry it was interesting to find out how many politicians couldn't give blood because of these reasons.

"I can't tell you about other ministers or deputies, but as for me I don't have any health problems and I don't think I'm in any danger," said Loodus.