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10 June 2016

World Blood Donor Day: blood donation in post-Ebola West Africa

47798-4_contestCopyright: James Meiring. Winner HIFA Photography award 2016

What do wellington boots drying in the African sun have to do with blood donation in the post-ebola era? Tell you later.

But first, as its World Blood Donor Day on June 14th, lets consider the differences between the blood transfusion services in a high income country like the UK with those in Nigeria or Sierra Leone? How has the ebola epidemic impacted on these services? 

Blood transfusion services in the UK

I think we in the UK, or any other high-income country, probably take our well-established national blood services somewhat for granted and only really give it a second thought when either we need to call on its use or something drastic goes wrong.

Established in 1946,  the Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) in England and Wales employs over 6000 people to collect & process the blood alone. All sorts of rules and practices surround the preparation and distribution and use of that blood. We are very fortunate that over 3% of people in the UK donate that blood (1% being the figure recommended as a min. by WHO to meet a populations needs) but even then we get regular appeals for more blood and we still suffer shortages for particular blood groups and platelets.

But, have you ever asked yourself why we need continuing fresh donations of blood and who are the usual recipients of that blood?

Read more on  Handpicked and Carefully Sorted

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