Call for stricter blood tests

Only 50 percent of the blood available for transfusion in this country is examined using an improved testing system designed to better detect viruses, experts said yesterday. The head of the Health Ministry’s blood donation committee, Constantina Politi, and the president of the Federation of Thalassemia Associations, Vangelis Stoumbiadis, called for the use of nucleic acid testing (NAT) to be extended to all hospitals and clinics to ensure that contaminated blood given by donors is not used in transfusions. Addressing a conference on thalassemia in Loutraki, Stoumbiadis called on the Health Ministry to ensure that a «temporary solution» is implemented over the next eight months until the completion of an international tender for the procurement of the special equipment needed in the NAT procedure. Stoumbiadis also complained about inadequate blood donation facilities in Greece, noting that many of the existing facilities are accommodated in flawed buildings and are often unable to operate in the afternoons due to a lack of staff.