How Ukraine is changing the blood donation system and attracting investors

Mihail Radutsky
3 min readJul 20, 2020

Our country is gradually, step by step, changing the Ukrainian healthcare sector. We are moving away from the Soviet medical system and implementing the European standards. I have already written about the medicine reform in Ukraine and about changes in the field of transplantation. Today, I will tell you how we are reforming the blood donation system.

During the years of independence, our country has almost lost the system of voluntary and unpaid donation. Today, most donors are random, one-time, what poses a constant risk. There is no guarantee that the required amount of blood will be available when needed. There is no guarantee of blood quality too because “accidental” donors may have chronic diseases which there was no time to detect.

We also have morally and technically obsolete equipment, and there is lack of modern systems for testing donor blood. The legislation in this area has not changed for a quarter of a century.

To change this situation, we, the people’s deputies, have started to work on creating a new system of blood donation. Experts from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and from the European Commission and key stakeholders in the industry have helped us.

Our main goal is to ensure that the national legislation corresponds more to the norms of the European Union within the Strategic Plan for National Blood System Development until 2022.

The first important step in this direction has already been taken: the Verkhovna Rada has approved the bill on blood donation and its components.

The bill contains the following:

1. To ensure the quality of blood and production of medicines from it

It is necessary to implement a system of controlling quality and safety of donor blood to monitor each component of the blood throughout the whole process — from the collection of blood of the patient to the production of the medicine. We also propose to create a Unified National Register of Blood Donors. It will allow a person to find out how many donors he or she count on, and whether the donors have chronic diseases that are incompatible with blood sampling.

2. Introduce a system of free regular donation in accordance with WHO recommendations

Ukraine plans to completely abandon paid donation in three years because we will have a whole staff of free regular donors who can be counted on in the event of a crisis. To do this, it is necessary to optimize the existing benefits for donors and to ensure they correspond the European standards.

3. Introduce an effective system of budget financing of the industry

The main principle of medical reform in Ukraine “money comes with the patient” applies to the blood system. Now, the state will not have to maintain all blood transfusion centers: it will finance only the purchase of blood and its components for specific needs. We plan to invite investors to update the material and technical base.

3. Attract private investment and introduce a mechanism of public-private partnership in the blood donation system

It is extremely important for our society that blood is not exported out of the country. Therefore, we have included this prohibition in the bill. At the same time, we invite investors to organize production in Ukraine. In the bill, we have included the mechanisms of public-private partnership.

We invite international companies to open modern plasma centers and produce medicines from blood components. We already have several examples of successful investments in this industry. In some regions, blood transfusion stations have already reached the European level, and thanks to systematic educational work, promotion of donation, a network of voluntary motivated unpaid donors is gradually being formed. Now, we need to implement in the whole country what already works successfully in some regions.

The introduction of such comprehensive measures will allow us to bring order to the national system of blood collection and processing.

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Mihail Radutsky

Head of the Committee on Public Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance, People’s Deputy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 9th convocation