Voluntary blood donations during these two years have been decreasing, and the Donate Blood application will significantly help the Blood Transfusion Institute to achieve its mission – to save lives and treat patients.

The Donate Blood unique platform was created within the CoronaThon competition, which was organized by UNDP in Montenegro and partners in April 2020. The development of the platform was logistically and financially supported by the UNDP, it was stated during the presentation. The mobile application for Android and iOS devices will increase the awareness of voluntary blood donors about current stocks and enable them to schedule blood donation.

The director of the Blood Transfusion Institute, Tamara Scepanovic, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all segments of life, caused serious problems in health systems around the world, including the system for blood transfusion.

“Over the world we have a decreased number of blood units from voluntary donors, which leads to aggravating circumstances in providing sufficient quantities of safe blood. The level of blood donation in Montenegro was 3.1 percent in 2019, then we had a drop to 2.7 percent in 2020, and we have noticed continuation of this trend in 2021, as well”, Scepanovic explained.

Decreased number of blood donations in Montenegro and worldwide, as well, was caused by a larger number of rejected potential donors, she explained.

“Today, during the pandemic period, donors are rejected because they are infected with the coronavirus, or because they were in contact with an infected person. Also, there is a certain group of people who, due to fear for their health, avoid staying indoors. For these reasons, the Blood Transfusion Institute of Montenegro is facing the postponement or cancellation of voluntary blood donation actions, which is foreseen by the annual plan”, Scepanovic said.

However, thanks to the activities undertaken, she added, no patient was left without blood when needed, nor was there a delay in surgical programs.

“However, with pandemic which lasts too long, and the mass vaccination expected, we will face again the postponement of donations and risk of exhausting these mechanisms and endangering the stability of national blood reserves”, Scepanovic noted.

She has called on all adults and humane people to install the Donate Blood application and to apply to be donors, so we could jointly provide enough units of blood for all in need. She pointed out that in all nine organizational parts of the Institute throughout Montenegro, all epidemiological measures are strictly respected, and all potential donors can feel completely safe.

The General Director of the Directorate for Digital Health in the Ministry of Health, Aleksandar Sekulic, said that the Donate Blood application was of exceptional importance.

“It meets the standards and conditions of modern health systems. We are extremely happy with the cooperation with UNDP at the Ministry of Health. Apart from the existing cooperation with the Institute for Blood Transfusion and the UNDP, the Ministry of Health is also planning projects that will deepen cooperation and significantly improve the entire health system, especially during the pandemic”, Sekulic said.

Miljan Markovic, one of the creators of the application, said that he has contributed to the voluntary blood donation action, along with his team, in April 2020, which inspired him to create an IT solution which will significantly improve the donation process.

“The milestone in further implementation was our participation in the CoronaThon competition, which was organized by UNDP with partners from the Government. The idea of our team was awarded as one of the three best ones, which encouraged us to seriously dedicate ourselves to the development of this solution. The support of the UNDP was crucial for the realization”, Markovic said.

The solution itself, as he explained, consists of a mobile application for Android and iOS devices, and it has three key functionalities.

“The most important part is the possibility of scheduling the voluntary blood donation, then receiving the notification of the Blood Transfusion Institute, and finally the possibility to have an insight into blood supplies at the national level. We hope that this solution, in this particularly difficult time for the health system, will significantly contribute to improving the experience of blood donation and help the Institute in achieving its mission – to save lives and treat the patients without any difficulties”, Markovic said.

He called on the citizens to install the application, to make an appointment and to donate blood.

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