Also foreigners are welcome at The University Hospital in Brno to donate blood. There are certain conditions which need to be met, though.
Blood donation is possible at the Department of Transfusion & Tissue Medicine of the Brno University Hospital on Jihlavská street 20. It’s been more than one year since the first not native Czech speakers were allowed to donate blood in Brno. It was about 60 employees from the subdivision of an American company AT&T (there was a news release in a local TV and newspaper). These donors helped to translate necessary documents and prepare the English version of the website which has become an essential tool for foreigners who want to donate blood.
„AT&T is situated right at the opposite of The University Hospital in Brno and there have been many foreigners coming to work for us who had been used to donate blood in their country so we had started to seek options. We found out several complications, related to the language barrier, in the first place. Since there was an interest on both sides, AT&T and the hospital, we together trained the hospital’s staff and arranged the translation of entry forms to make blood donation available for foreigners living in Brno and the South Moravian Region,“ describes Jakub Kovalský, the HR Country Manager of AT&T headquarters in the Czech Republic.
„I am happy I could participate in this activity here in the Czech Republic. Back in Spain, before I had moved to the Czech Republic for work, I used to donate blood regularly. Each of us can find himself in a situation when he needs blood, and you never know when it happens to you or someone from your family,“ said Vanessa Garcia, an AT&T employee who was one of the blood donors in summer 2015.
The basic bureaucracy rules for foreign blood donors are a valid identity card, a long-term residence, and a health insurance card confirming health insurance in the Czech Republic in the extent of complete care. The other rules are described here.
There is a restriction for French and English people: Those who stayed in France or the United Kingdom in years 1980-96 are not allowed to donate blood in the Czech Republic. „The reason is an epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, which has a long incubation period and affected the United Kingdom in 1986–1998,“ explains Kateřina Havlátová, a doctor at the Department of Transfusion & Tissue Medicine of The University Hospital in Brno. She confirms there are foreigners coming to donate blood. One of them is Semjon Simanov, a Russian working at another IT company in Brno.
„My Macedonian colleague donates blood and blood plasma regularly so I went with him. It is so much better here than in Russia. They use old manual machines originated in Soviet Union and I was always alone there. Here, even on Thursday morning, there were a lot of people,“ tells Semjon.
AT&T employees keep coming to donate blood in Brno. This year‘s fall the company announced October as a month of blood donation (named Bloodctober, likewise Movember) when its employees were called on to donate blood and take somebody else with them. This event was very successful: 80 employees accepted the challenge and 30 of them donated blood for the first time.
„There are many students and workers from abroad coming to the South Moravian Region and we are happy that owing to our small initiative all foreigners can donate blood in Brno now,“ proclaimed Jakub Kovalský.