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In order to increase the number of blood donors among 18–30-year olds, the State Blood Donor Centre launched the Asins draudzība (Blood Friendship) campaign at the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Anatomy Museum on Wednesday, 22 September. As part of the event, public figures and Latvian universities will help encourage young people to become asins draugi (blood friends) and donate blood together. The average age of a blood donor in Latvia is 38 years, and it continues to grow. Only a quarter of donors in Latvia are young people, and over the last three years the number of young donors has dropped by 6%. 

‘It is quite obvious why the opening of the campaign was held at RSU. According to the State Blood Donor Centre, there are more blood donors here than at other Latvian universities. The Blood Donor Centre regularly organises blood donation drives at RSU. More than 600 donors have participated in the last eight visits together saving almost 2,000 lives,’

said RSU Vice-Rector for Health Studies, Professor Guntis Bahs. He encourages other universities to actively take part in the Blood Friendship campaign.

The campaign was opened by the Director of the State Blood Donor Centre, Egita Pole, wheras Kārlis Rācenis, a lecturer and researcher at RSU and a doctor at PSCUH Nephrology Department and a Member of the Board of the Latvian Medical Association, explained the importance of donating blood.

According to the State Blood Donor Centre, fear and a lack of information hinders young people from donating blood. It has also become more difficult to reach a younger audience due to the fact that different generations consume media in different ways. Therefore, the campaign aims to educate and encourage young people by using the theme of friendship by donating blood together thereby becoming “blood friends”. In order to address the youth in particular, the campaign will also involved RSU alumna, radio voice Karmena Stepanova, as well as three popular musicians – Matīss Zemītis from the band Sudden Lights, as well as Elizabete Gaile and Krists Indrišonoks (Chris Noah) as event ambassadors.

International students are also encouraged to participate. Please visit the State Blood Donor Centre website for more information in English.