10 September 2011 (Saturday) - Blood Donations from the Ethnic Minorities

(Shamelessly blagged from a colleague presenting at the BBTS Annual Conference)

It is becoming difficult for the NHSBT to provide blood for the ever growing ethnic minority population in the UK. This is due to the low rate of blood donation in these communities, which is inadequate to support the provision of rare blood groups found specifically among such groups especially from African/Caribbean and south Asian origins e.g. U negative blood usually found only amongst people of African/Caribbean descent.
Furthermore, conditions such as Sickle Cell Anaemia and Thalassemia Major require regular blood transfusions and are more prevalent in these communities.

In response to this predicament the NHSBT has launched the NHSBT VIP Appeal which is a campaign to encourage people of ethnic minorities to become blood donors.
This study looks into some of the root causes of the problem by comparing the rate of blood donation in ethnic minority communities in the UK with the rate of voluntary blood donation in Nigeria.
According to the NHSBT, less than 3% of all blood donations last year were from ethnic minority donors. This correlates with the 2.4% voluntary blood donation rate recorded over the course of a year in Nigeria.

The study enumerates some of the cultural practices, patterns and beliefs that form and inform the attitudes of people towards blood donation both home and abroad. In conclusion, some recommendations are put forward that could help confront, correct and hopefully eradicate this deep-seated problem within our modern British society”. 

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