Even though Lazio's regional government set aside 1.5 million euros for a campaign urging blood donation during the summer the region is still cronically short of blood. Recently people have been queuing up outside Rome's S. Spirito hospital to give blood to ailing television and film star Nino Manfredi but the city's health authorities have been quick to point out Rome is still without enough blood to cover its needs.

In Lazio there was a rise of 5.8 per cent in blood donations during the three years 2000-2002 inclusive, taking last years total to 133,512 units received. However, the region is expected to need 163,000 units during 2003 because of an increase in organ and bone marrow transplants, a general rise in surgery and the medical requirements of an aging population. The increase in demand is coupled with a decrease in supply in Rome during the summer, when many people go on holiday. For information on donating blood contact Avis, freephone 800261580, www.avis.it.