Over 60% of the blood obtained in Catalonia comes from the campaigns run by delegates of the different associations comprising the Federation of Blood Donors. The Federation is a network of 600 people responsible for local promotion, putting up signs and distributing posters to announce the date and times of extractions. Coordinating with town councils, they are in charge of equipping premises and then returning them to their previous state once the Blood and Tissue Bank workers have done their job. And they do it all voluntarily.
The procedure for giving blood is fast and simple. First, donors fill in a questionnaire on health and habits, also giving consent. Obviously, all data are confidential and protected. Then there is a short interview, which includes taking the donor’s blood pressure and haemoglobin levels to ensure the donation is safe for both the donor and the future recipient. The extraction takes 10 to 15 minutes and involves collecting 450 ml of blood, an amount that can help up to three different people, depending on the components separated at the Blood Bank.
After a short rest, the donor is offered a small snack and advised to drink plenty of liquids, not to do any strenuous physical effort, and not drink alcohol or smoke for at least two hours. The blood is analysed for viruses and the results sent to the donor confidentially, although it must be noted this does not replace a blood test requested by a doctor.