Blood Drive in Armenia organized at the U.S. Embassy by the Hematology Center

A blood drive, “Have a Heart, Save a Life,” was organized at the U.S. Embassy by the HematologyCenter. Ambassador John A. Heffern, Deputy Minister of Health Sergey Khachatryan, and Director of the Hematology Center Smbat Daghbashyan took part in the event, offering congratulatory words.

“Giving blood is a normal part of life in the United States”, the Ambassador said. “We are proud to partner with the Hematology Center so that Armenian organizations and businesses can also take part in giving the gift of life.”

Volunteer donations of blood are not common in Armenia yet. Only 4% of blood donations are from volunteers. 51% of donations are from relatives, and 45% of donations are from people who are paid.

“This was a common practice in the United States until the 1960’s”, said Ellen Dempsey, Health Practitioner at the U.S. Embassy. “It eventually became clear that paying for blood was not a good use of resources. The volunteer movement started, and more resources were available for things like research, diagnosis and patient care,” she said.

The current system of blood donation in Armenia involves asking a relative to donate when blood is needed.   If a relative is unable to donate for some reasons, then a previous donor is contacted and asked to donate. These donors are paid.

The HematologyCenter has sufficient supplies of blood, however the share of blood from voluntary donors is not enough, and they would like to see a significant increase in the number of voluntary donors.  This is an approach practiced in all developed countries and is recommended by the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization.

The blood collected today will be set aside for use by children and the needy at no charge.   If there is enough interest, the Hematology Center would be willing to organize blood drives for Armenian businesses and organizations on-site or at the Hematology Center.

“We are very happy to start this initiative in Armenia,” said Professor Smbat Daghbashyan . “Our supply of volunteer blood is low, there is always need for blood and efforts should be made towards supplementing the supplies mostly through voluntary blood donations.” Anyone interested in organizing a blood drive can call the center at 010 283823.

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