The quest for “rare bloods”, a challenge to diversify donors

The quest for “rare bloods”, a challenge to diversify donors
Written by madishthestylebar

For three years, the French Blood Establishment (EFS) has been conducting an awareness campaign to diversify its donors. People of color on posters calling for donations, partnerships with neighborhood associations, collections in community places, all the means are good to succeed in convincing people of all origins to give their blood. Goal ? Allow, beyond the collection of the main blood groups (A, B, AB, O, +, −), to recover what is called “rare blood”.

“The concept of rare blood group is defined by its frequency, when it is present in less than four people per thousand within the general population, explains Jacques Chiaroni, director of the EFS PACA Corse, specialist in blood groups. Beyond the known groups, there are 380 different ones. And 250 are considered rare, therefore very valuable in transfusion. » In France, there are between 700,000 and 1 million people potentially affected.

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In Bobigny, in Seine-Saint-Denis, Mara Camara thus tries on a daily basis to convince the young people of her commune. This is one of the actions carried out within Jejoue.Jedonne, the association he founded. “I wanted to develop notions of solidarity with the practice of sport, to prove that we can share sport with important values. That’s why I decided to associate sport with blood donation., he summarizes. A sports educator, Mr. Camara has been a regular donor since high school. A subject that the Balbynians discover, according to him. “Blood donation is not very developed here. But for the inhabitants, having someone like them, from the same background, who talks to them about it, who finds the right words, is enough to convince them. » Its objective is to retain regular donors over the long term. His association has already made it possible to “recruit” “between 250 and 300”. “We hope to have two collections per year at the Maison du don in Bobigny, as well as a mobile collection. »

Relay in the field

For the EFS, Mara Camara is one of the essential relays mobilized to diversify the donor population and recruit these “rare bloods”. “This topic is about five years old. In 2020, we launched the rare blood and phenotypes of interest sector to try to harmonize our practices, the challenge being to recruit more donors of Afro-Caribbean origins”, explains the EFS.

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“In fact, there are fewer donations in certain populations, and they therefore do not cover the needs in relation to the number of patients”, they add. A situation that the EFS tries to understand, with the creation of a research group intended to discover “the cultural dimensions that determine whether or not we come to give”, summarizes Mr. Chiaroni. The EFS insists: the goal is not just to be inclusive or to “to stigmatize”Where “to blame” certain populations. “The challenge is above all to have recruitment that reflects the French population”, explains the organization. This lack of donations is all the more problematic since many of the ethnic groups that donate less are carriers of rare blood.

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