From now on, military and civilians can donate blood in military barracks thanks to Red Cross and Defence collaboration.
Both institutions are also looking for new O negative blood donors, they said on Thursday in a statement.
Defence decided earlier this year to end its transfusion service.
Staff donors had no other choice but to do so in a military environment, and the blood donations were used for wounded military at the Neder-Over-Heembeek Military Hospital, or during Belgian Army missions.
The Red Cross is now responsible for organizing collections, sampling, analysis, training of Army personnel and the delivery of finished blood products in military barracks.
This decision stems from Defence’s desire to “focus on its operational activities.”
The Red Cross will organize more mobile blood drives in military barracks. If it can touch more people, its donor base could expand by about 1,000. The barracks will also be open to public donors. And, Defence personnel can now give blood in a donor site of its choice, the Red Cross says.
Along with this collaboration, Defence and the Red Cross have launched a recruitment campaign for O negative donors. “This rare group (6.75% Belgian population) allows anyone to receive an emergency transfusion, hence the name of ‘universal donor’,” the Red Cross said.