“We often have to ask relatives of our patients for certificates for blood donations because we receive only one liter of blood for a surgery from the blood center. In some cases two or more liters are needed,” Dimitrov said. “Due to lack of enough blood, some scheduled surgeries are being postponed by weeks.”
Up until 1989, when the Balkan nation was under a communist government, Bulgarians were -eager blood donors. Army conscripts were awarded a two-day home leave each time they donated blood.
However, voluntary blood donation has been gradually shrinking in Bulgaria over the past two decades, leaving the country above only by Albania, Bosnia and Moldova in Europe in the percentage of voluntary donors — 23 per 1000 people. The average for the US is 53 per thousand, according to the American Association of Blood Banks, a figure similar to most EU countries.