The donor’s digital card and online booking, developed as part of the digital transition of the Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplants (IPST), intend to “remove barriers so that people can exert their generosity in a simpler manner,” Margarida Tavares explained to Lusa.

She added that these two tools, developed in partnership with the Administrative Modernisation Agency, are a way to attract young donors, between 24 and 45 years of age, but also to keep the existing ones active with regular donations.

“We have to offer every way possible to interact quickly and easily with the IPST,” the secretary of State emphasised, underlining that the “Portuguese are very generous people” relating to blood donations.

The digital donor card is a phone app that’s already been downloaded about 6600 times in the last month where the donor has access to diverse information such as the dates of previous donations when one can donate again, the dates of appointments, and blood type.

New donations can be booked through the IPST site, with a “quick and accessible” form needing to be filled, Margarida Tavares explained.

According to her, between 2008 and 2021 “a sharp reduction in donors was noticed” in Portugal, but without hitting a breaking point, a tendency which has inverted itself with the pandemic, with the country now with “donations growing and periods of good stability.”

Besides how summer usually registers fewer donations, World Youth Day also happens at the beginning of August, requiring “an additional effort with blood donor associations” to guarantee high reserves, Tavares stated.

“As waiting won’t bring additional need, it’s always good to guarantee we have some additional reserves,” the secretary of State pointed out.

The essential conditions for a person to be a blood donor is to be between 18 and 65 years of age, with the first donation being before the age of 60, to be 50 kilos or heavier, and to be healthy.

According to the IPST, Portuguese hospitals need 1100 units of blood and blood components a day.