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Taxonomy of Thorendal » Bloddonorerne i Danmark (The blood donor associations in Denmark)

Taxonomy of Thorendal

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Bloddonorerne i Danmark (The blood donor associations in Denmark)

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The blood donor associations in Denmark
The national blood-donor association

The Blood-donors in Denmark is a non-profit national association working independently of governmental authorities and of the Red Cross. The main aim of the association is to secure a sufficient number of blood-donors anywhere in the country anytime. Out of a total population of 5,3 million inhabitants, more than 238.000 Danes are registered blood-donors, or about 8 % of the adult population between 18 and 60 years.

The aim of the association is also to ensure Danish self-sufficiency in blood-products

- for ethical reasons, since Denmark should not exploit donors from countries which need blood themselves - and for safety reasons, since rules for blood-donation are well established and controlled, which means that Danish donor-blood is of high quality and forms an excellent basis for blood-products with extremely small risk for transfer of infections etc.

The association establishes - in cooperation with national health authorities - the necessary guidelines for blood-donation in Denmark, and works continuously to protect the legitimate interest of blood-donors. The association secures the full anonymity between donor and patient, considering that the blood is a gift from the donor to an unknown receiver.

Accordingly, all Danish blood-donors are voluntary and non-remunerated, but the regional authorities, which run the Danish public hospitals, pay a small fee per donation to the local donor-association to cover administration, publicity, badges etc. and a contribution to the national association.

The Blood-donors in Denmark have, in earlier years, created an insurance fund which cover expenditures rising from personal injuries of a donor before, during or after the donation. The fund also raises possibleclaims against the Public Patients-insurance Fund, with which it has developed a close cooperation in order to achieve the best possible treatment of donor-injuries, and in order to be able to compensate donors injuries at the earliest possible date.

How did it start ?

In 1932 a group of adult scouts brought the idea of voluntary blood-donation to Denmark and started donor associations, in affiliation with local hospitals. At that time, it was considered sufficient to recruit approximately 200 donors, but as demand grew rapidly, especially after the Second World War, a number of other national organizations engaged themselves in donor-recruitment. In 1952 the national association was created to further the cause of voluntary, non-remunerated blood-giving.

The status today

Today, to cover the needs for the 5,3 million Danes, approximately 380.000 bleedings take place every year, which means that each donor in average is bled 1,6 times a year. The frequency varies, however, as demand is greater in the large cities, where hospitals of national importance are established, and where - at the same time, donor-recruitment is more difficult than in the rural areas.

The local donor organisations

Denmark has 77 local donor-associations which correspond largely to the number of bleeding-facilities, normally at local hospitals. Their main tasks include donor-recruitment, contact with bloodbank-personnel, press-contacts, distribution of badges and donor-activities.

The local associations are regrouped in 14 regional committees, which correspond to the counties (”amter”) of Denmark. The regional committee negotiates conditions for blood-donation with the elected county-council, which has primary responsibility for health care and hospitals, including blood-banks. The regional committee also elects two members to the national committee, which is the decision-making body of the national association.

The blood-banks

Like in other countries, the use of and need for blood and blood-products have changed during the last half century. At present, the need for blood-products in Denmark is rising moderately, primarily due to new uses for blood products. At the same time the blood-sector undergoes a process of centralization within the counties, even if the Danish health sector - by international standards - is extremely decentralized. The increased use of expensive robots for testing, stricter control-measures, centralized distribution and
greater use of computerization (which has almost stopped the outdating of blood-units) has demanded centralization of blood-bank-activity. There is also a tendency to a greater use of blood-products at a few hospitals of national importance, which perform organ-transplants, treat serious burns, treat cancer etc.

There is, however, still a great emphasis on local collection of blood, since it is preferred (also for economical reasons) that donors come to the bleeding on their own, and much emphasis is put on good personal contact between bloodbank-personnel and donors. The main problem with a decentralized collection of blood is the availability of medically qualified personnel in all phases of bleeding (before, during and after) - a presence, which is considered very important by the national association in order to
ensure good donor-motivation - and complete security for the donors.

The consumption of blood

Denmark has the largest consumption of blood-products per capita in Europe, but also the highest bleeding-frequency. This very high usage is largely due to the high quality of blood-products (and associated low risks connected with use), tradition, the low cost, the continued availability of a sufficient number of donors, and - perhaps - the high acceptance of blood donation in the Danish population.

The blood-donors associations and the blood-banks have for many years pursued a very high information activity towards the donors to ensure exact knowledge about factors, which prohibit blood-donation. This has lead to a loss of blood-units of only 3 % , losses primarily due to contamination, donor sickness after bleeding, late information on medication, or because the blood-unit has not lived up to the very high Danish norms for acceptable quality.

In Denmark there is almost NO outdating of blood-units, once they have been accepted for use. In the last year only 200 units out of 380.000 units were not used in at least one of its components, and in the Copenhagen-area the outdating was even lower since 99,994 % of the blood was used. It is considered to be very important for donor motivation, that all blood is used - and surplus production is avoided, since exportation of blood from Denmark is only allowed for in emergencies.

Denmark is a member of the European Union, which has established certain guidelines for bleeding and inspection, but so far no uniform rules for and treatment of blood and blood-products, or on the non-remuneration of blood-donors, have been passed by the European Union. Accordingly, the Danish authorities and the blood-donor-associations adhere strictly to the principle of self-sufficiency, which has been laid out by the Council of Europe. Should European legislation be initiated in this field, the Blood-donors in Denmark expect to become involved in the development of such common European legislation.

The national association has, however, as a member of the International Federation of Blood-Donor Organizations, I.F.B.D.O., had a long-standing policy on the promotion of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation - and the association hopes that this idea will spread to as many countries as possible all over the world and, especially, within Europe.

A list of names and addresses of national organizations, members of the I.F.B.D.O., and other information about the federation can be found under IFBDO/FIODS.