Getting Rid of Bulgaria's Blood Whores
Bulgaria's blood whores.
This is how the foreign press once described the Roma, lingering every day around the National Transfusion Centre. They may look like any other Roma men who roam the suburban streets of the capital, but their real purpose there is trading blood for money.
Illicit, but long tolerated, the blood whores have seen their business flourish over the last few years, but as last week showed they are – to put it mildly – no long-term solution.
Members of Bulgaria's government were among the first to respond to an urgent call for blood donors as unusually high number of surgeries in Sofia depleted hospitals' reserves.
But this is no long-term solution either.
In a desperate bid to cope with the shortage, Bulgaria's hospitals insist that patients present a note some one has donated blood for their operation.
But this is just part of the vicious circle as patients' relatives fall an easy prey to the black market dealers.
There is only one long-term solution – offering state-fixed payments to people who voluntarily donate blood.
Legalizing the market, not the blood whores, is the only way to plug at least this bloody hole in the terminally ill system.
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Ok so this topic raised quite some emotions on Facebook last night, here is a summary.
The issue, corruption is accepted, social rejection and discrimination against Roma fuels the situation, the ministry and society is apathetic about the blood shortage.
Corruption: Just like the bright idea of giving traffic cops 50% of any fine they take to ensure the government get the other, is never going to work, it is simply legalising corruption.
Discrimination: Long past time for a good education program on Roma issues, we are not so much talking about Roma but ordinary Bulgarians, classes entitled "How to Behave in a Modern Tolerant Society", Legal system must change to give heavy penalties for those with anti Roma views, most views aired openly in public here would account to a possible jail term in the rest of Europe, get up to date!
Social Acceptance of giving blood: The comments proved many citizens of Sofia are prepared to give blood, what they are scared of is losing their jobs for taking time to give blood, both employers and the ministry need to be sympathetic to this by providing without prejudice the option to take the time unpaid to offer your donation, and donor centres should both remain open into after work hours and be situated in the commercial centres such as the business park to make lunchtimes an easy option, I guess the UK scheme of mobile donor centres that travel to your employers car park are beyond budget for the Bulgarian ministry.
To conclude the problem is multi faceted, deeply entangled with some of our society's most burning issues, but in the end it all starts with education, tolerance taught to the population, sympathy to our employers, government use of think tanks would also be a worthy step in the right direction, but until our government and society are prepared to deal with the underlying issues things will not change so fast.
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