Balearic leader Francesc Antich unveiled a mobile blood donors unit in the Borne in Palma. The bus, which has cost 52 million pesetas, will be managed by the Blood and Tissue Bank. The bank's managing director, Josep Montcunill, yesterday praised Balearic blood donors, claiming the Islands were one of the most generous regions in Spain with 50 donations per 1'000 inhabitants a year (more than 36'000 donations during 2000). But, he stressed, needs are growing daily, too, and he estimated that next year, when the Inca and Son Llátzer (Palma) hospitals are opened, demand will be in the region of 43'000 donations. The bus will be used in an effort to attract more donors, particularly in areas where there are not many, such as large parts of Palma, Calvia and Marratxi, and at the University. The number of donors is much higher in the outlying towns and villages. The number of blood donors in the Balearics has been rising steadily since 1987. Antich thanked the Blood Donors Association and the 60'000 donors in the Balearics who, “by their actions, show that the Balearic Community is an example of solidarity.” The unveiling was attended by Balearic health minister Aina Salom, and the presidents of the blood donors associations of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Up to now, the Balearic Blood and Tissue Bank has had three small mobile units for the transport of staff and equipment for donating blood in premises such as schools or public buildings or even marquees. However, the new bus has facilities for extractions in the vehicle itself. Salom said that other communities had owned buses like this for more than 20 years. She went on to say that the Blood Bank had reserves for “day to day needs, but if a major catastrophe should occur, they would not have enough.” The new bus can handle 15 to 20 persons an hour. It has a small waiting room, an office for the doctor, a large extraction area and another area where donors can eat. It also has heating and air conditioning.

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