Russia: New law puts Red Cross centre stage in blood provision

Published: 13 June 2013 12:54 CET

For 20 years after collapse of the Soviet Union, blood donation in Russia was based solely on fee-based services; blood donors received fees for each unit given. However, the strategy of fee-based donation has had a negative effect on voluntary blood services, as the Russian Red Cross and other NGOs were not able to attract sufficient donors.

More recently – in the last 4-5 years – a number of Red Cross branches across the country launched Club 25 programmes aimed at increasing voluntary donations.

With support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Russian Red Cross has undertaken advocacy to bring about change and to improve the number of donors. Recent research noted that the ratio of donors is 14-17/100,000, well behind the European average of 35-45/1,000. As a result, President Vladimir Putin signed into law a new Blood Donation statute that made donation a voluntary endeavor from October 2012.

The law mentions for the first time the exclusive role of the Russian Red Cross in the promotion of voluntary blood donation, which demonstrates the commitment of the Russian government to promote voluntary blood donation.

The Club 25 promotion has 2,700 volunteers who organize blood donor days, social media campaigns on the Vkontakte network and other outreach work. The Red Cross has also just launched a campaign with Coca Cola Russia to promote blood donation across the country.

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