A blood unit is needed every 90 seconds in Austria. According to the Red Cross, that makes around 1,000 blood units a day. In order to maintain the life-saving supply, hospitals depend on the help of the population. The Red Cross is now seeing a significant drop in so-called “first-time donors”. Will a blood donation app change that in the future?
Young people between the ages of 18 and 25 belong to the group of first-time donors. According to the head of the blood donation service at the Styrian Red Cross, Christian Steinescher, it is extremely important to motivate this group in particular to donate blood early enough. “If we don’t pick up the boys now, it will hurt us in ten, 15 years,” he explains. Currently, the previous numbers of donations can still be reached and the situation in Austria is stable. According to the Red Cross, however, you have to think long-term.
One reason for the negative development is the contact restrictions and entry bans imposed by the pandemic. “We used to be in the army, in schools, in companies – and picked up our young donors there, unfortunately that wasn’t possible in the last few months, and of course we all miss them,” emphasizes Steinescher to the “ORF” and refers to them Figures that speak for themselves: While around 7,500 blood bags were collected in schools and companies in Styria before the pandemic, the success halved to 3,600 last year.
The Red Cross has also figured out the best way to reach young people these days. An app should make it easy to make an appointment for blood donation via cell phone. Information about the next possible time for a donation as well as the blood donor card and much more can be called up digitally at any time.
Together with the app, they also want to intensify campaigns in individual regions and motivate more people to donate blood again in the future.