Voluntary blood donation – the peak of  humanitarianism and altruism

  • The very first attempts at blood transfusion date back to the 17th century
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, with the advancement of medical science, the technique of transfusion has also been perfected, i.e. human blood transfusion was successfully done after different blood types and Rh groups were found
  • The very first transfusions were carried out by transferring the syringe from the donor to the receiver using a so called “rotonda device” (directly from the vein of the donor to the vein of the receiver)
  • The very first official transfusion was organised by “The Red Cross Society” in 1921 in London. The same event took place in Zagreb only thre years later, in 1924. In “The Royal University Clinic for Women’s Diseases and Midwifery at the Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb”, i.e. in present day known as “Clinic for Women’s Diseases and Birth”
  • On the territory of the Croatian Republic in 1949 transfusion centres were established in bigger cities, and in 1951 transfusion cabinets were established as well
  • Up to the year 1953 blood collecting in Croatia was done in such a way that the blood needed for the patient was provided by family and/or friends. There were only a few paid donors who had no relation to the patients. However, blood shortage was often present, so it was agreed that the task of gathering blood donors was to be entrusted in the “Croatian Red Cross Society”, a humanitarian organization that had up until then proven its ability to bring people together for the purpose of their activities
  • “Croatian Red Cross Society” has become a founder and promoter of organised and voluntary blood giving activities on Croatian territory; voluntary blood giving being based on the principles of voluntarism, solidarity and anonymity
  • The first action of organised, voluntary blood giving in Croatia took place in Ironworks factory in Sisak on the 25th of October 1953 and that day is celebrated today as the “Day of voluntary blood donors” => that year, two actions were organised both with poor results. However, these results were intensified year by year as a direct result of hard work and dedication of the people in the Red Cross Society of Croatia. Around that time a database of voluntary blood donors was established. A database of donors who can at any time provide the blood or blood component needed for the treatment of patients
  • First actions of voluntary blood giving in Krapina County were put into effect at the end of 1953 in Pregrada, Hum on Sutla – in the factory “Straža”, Krapina , Zlatar and Bedekovčina and 280 vials of blood were collected. Ever since then those same actions have been put into effect every year in this region (from 1953 to 1959 4601 people gave their blood)
  • Even in today’s time and age, despite numerous research, human blood in its entirety cannot be replaced by artificially produced compounds, so it’s always necessary to have enough blood supplies
  • In 2017, 199,985 blood donations were collected in Croatia, which amounts to 4.67 per 100 inhabitants; 17% of the donors were women and 83% were men while the average blood donation in the EU was 5.00%
  • For the last 10 years, Krapina County has been occupying the 1st or 2nd place regarding success of blood donation in the Republic of Croatia (depending on the year). In 2017 with 7.14 donations per 100 inhabitants (9.851 doses of blood) it was far above Croatian average
  • The society of “Red Cross Krapina” has been the most successful in the county and in the last 10 years it has continuously been taking 1st or 2nd place regarding the success of blood donation in the Republic of Croatia (depending on the year), with as much as 11.50 donations per 100 inhabitants in the year 2011. It has kept its continuity in the numbers of donations, as well as good organisation of activities ever since. Thanks to that, in the year 2017, 10.35 donations per 100 inhabitants were made, i.e. 2663 doses of blood were collected
  • Many voluntary blood donors count dozens of blood donations. According to the data from September of 2018, in the Red Cross Krapina there are 46 individuals with 100 and more donations

Proud of its voluntary blood giving tradition, the Red Cross Krapina has proposed, to the City of Krapina, the idea of naming the promenade going along the river Krapinica the “Promenade of Blood Donors” (from the Street of Ante Starčević to the bridge in Mihaljekov Jarek nearby the Police building). As an act of gratitude to all blood donors who have saved countless lives by selflessly, voluntarily and anonymously donating their blood, and on the initiative of the Red Cross Krapina, the City Council of the City of Krapina in the November of 2018 has decided to name the said promenade the “Promenade of Blood Donors”.

Sara Živičnjak,

Petra Blajić, prof.