Moscow blood donors down to last drop

Moscow faces a catastrophic shortage of blood donors.Vera Lebedeva, head of Moscow's Miloserdiye, described the situation at a press conference here Thursday. She said the number of donors dropped from 120,000 in 1999 to 9,600 in 2002. 'This year the situation is worse: the first quarter of 2003 saw only 1,700 blood donors in Moscow,' she said.

She explained the drop by the cancellation, on December 24, 2002, of the privilege given honored donors to use city transportation without charge. Another factor apparently is a changed attitude in society toward the problems of other people, she said. The situation can be changed if the Moscow City Council changes the existing law on donors to reinstate a benefit and if the media conduct an active campaign of propaganda to stimulate donations, Lebedeva said.

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