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Transfusion. 2007 Mar;47(3):402-9.

Improving minority blood donation: anthropologic approach in a migrant community.

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EFS Alpes-Méditerranée, Marseilles, France.



As a result of blood group polymorphism, distinctive blood types have evolved in populations around the world. In countries with large migrant populations, finding rare blood types for transfusion can be challenging. This is especially true for sub-Saharan African immigrants living in countries with predominantly European populations. This problem is further compounded by hereditary disorders such as sickle cell disease and by traditional cultural values that discourage routine donation.


The purpose of this report is to describe the drive to recruit more safe rare blood type donors in a Comorian immigrant community living in Marseilles, France. With a culturally adapted message developed on an anthropologic approach and working in close collaboration with scientific and medical members of the Comorian community, it is proposed that this population be sensitized with the gift of blood.


Targeted collection of specific sub-Saharan African blood types was achieved. Taking into account the high rate of infectious markers among products collected in this targeted collection, however, it was decided to promote blood donation in this minority by addressing people directly toward our principal blood center site. Since setup of this adapted communication, regular donors present themselves spontaneously without community pressure. Infectious markers rate is then equal to general blood donor population's rate.


The results of this drive demonstrate the utility of an anthropologic approach and cultural mediation in identifying donors with specific blood types in migrant communities and recruiting second-generation donors. The techniques described in this study could also be applied to collection of other tissues including organs and peripheral blood progenitor cells in minorities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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