New campaign to beat summer dip in blood donations: who can donate?
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    New campaign to beat summer dip in blood donations: who can donate?

    A new campaign seeks to collect thousands of blood bags before the start of the summer. Credit: Pixabay

    The Belgian Red Cross launched the ‘Missing Type’ campaign on Monday, a six-day blood drive which aims to collect thousands of blood bags before the start of the summer.

    The campaign, which will run from the 10 to 16 June in Belgium, consists in removing the letters O, A and B — the three blood types— from texts, titles, brand names and slogans.

    By removing these letters from everyday settings, both online and offline, the campaign aims to raise awareness on the problem of diminishing stocks of donated blood during the summer months, and encourage more people to become blood donors.

    “In order to meet our needs, we need to collect over 5,000 blood bags before the summer holidays,” a statement by the Red Cross reads, adding that these months usually mean declining blood stocks for the humanitarian group.

    Several businesses, institutions and other humanitarian groups support the Missing Type Campaign this year, such as telecommunications giant Orange, which unveiled a vowel-less logo for the launch of the campaign, or Belgian healthcare provider Mutualités Libre.

    Who can donate?

    As regular blood donors become older or cannot donate anymore, or not as often, due to changing lifestyles, the Red Cross this year has issued guidelines for anyone wishing to become a donor.

    Donors must be over 18 and in good health.  Blood cannot be donated during pregnancy nor in the six months after birth.

    Anyone who has been tattoed, pierced or had permanent make-up applied, as well as anybody who has become sexually active with a new partner must wait four months before donating.

    For men sleeping with same-sex partners, or people sleeping with users of intravenous drugs, the waiting period goes up to 12 months.

    Other restrictions or waiting-times, such as the 24-hour waiting period after a dentist’s appointment, are made available on the Red Cross website.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times