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Russia Faces Blood Donation Crisis

Blood donations are in a critical state in Russia. There is no register of donors, no information on blood reserves, and the risk of contracting an infectious disease through a blood transfusion in Russia is 500-1000 times higher here than in developed countries, according to a report by Federal Health and Social Development Supervisory Service (Roszdravnadzor).

Experts at the federal service say that the so-called “blood service,” a division of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, is on the brink of paralysis. They note that the current situation is to the advantage of the black market, worth millions of dollars.
The number of voluntary donors has decreased from 4 million to 1.8 million in the last ten years, and the services may be unprepared for “severe losses.” There are now 13 donors for every 1000 people, which is half the European average. In the last ten years, 65 people have been infected with the HIV virus through blood transfusions.

The lack of supervision of donors and blood reserves by the blood service, as well as outdated and worn out equipment, endangers a variety of branches of medicine and makes the development of high-technology operations such as organ transplantation and high-dose chemotherapy impossible.

The donated blood market is controlled by the law “On Donated Blood and Its Components.” Under the law, money to obtain blood from the public is allotted from regional budgets. Donated blood becomes the property of blood bank that receives it. Blood banks sell the blood at a market rate. They have no licenses for medical activities, but they have the right to transport the blood. They are not responsible for its quality. A black market also exists, on which a liter of plasma sells for 3000-15,000 rubles.

Health Ministry spokesman Lyubov Glebova told Kommersant that the ministry has prepared an order on remedying the situation. The order does not change the existing system, as Roszdravnadzor recommends, but establishes an inspection procedure and suggests that Roszdravnadzor conduct them unannounced.


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