Know your potential blood donor, you never know

As anyone who needs a blood transfusion in an emergency will quickly learn, there is a blood shortage in the Dominican Republic because donating blood is not yet part of the culture.

In the DR, as in other countries, the availability of blood for treatments requiring transfusions is a crucial component of the healthcare system. Certain blood types are particularly scarce and difficult to obtain, posing a significant challenge for patients in need of emergency care and vital medical treatments, Listin Diario reports.

The country faces shortages, especially with Rh-negative blood types such as O- and A-, which can often become scarce and hard to find, doctors Sócrates Sosa and Pedro Sing told Listin Diario.

Approximately 85% of the population is Rh-positive, leaving only about 15% Rh-negative.

“The distribution of blood types within a population depends largely on its ethnic makeup. In our population, the most common blood type is O+ at around 46%, followed by A+ at 28%. B+ accounts for about 10%, with all other negative types—A-, O-, B-, and AB-—each below 10%, and AB- being just 1% worldwide,” Sing Ureña, current director of the National Hemocenter explains.

Yet, separately, Dr. Sosa said: “Even the most common type, O+, can run short at times due to issues in blood supply management and a lack of donation culture focused on meeting specific needs.”

Both specialists agreed that a major issue in the country is the insufficient culture of voluntary blood donation. “Ideally, the Dominican Republic should aim for a donation rate of around 12 per thousand, whereas currently, we are only achieving about 4 per thousand, despite significant efforts in voluntary collections,” noted Sing, advocating for a cultural shift towards regular donations and regulated costs.

Sosa emphasized the need for targeted campaigns to encourage donations among groups most in need. “A continuous promotion of voluntary blood donation tailored to specific blood type demands is essential,” he stressed, lamenting the inadequate supply currently available.

Bottomline is know your blood type and know who could be your donors before you need them.

The largest blood bank is the Red Cross, followed by that at the Hemocentro Nacional.

Read more in Spanish:
Listin Diario 
Cruz Roja
Hemocentro Nacional

4 July 2024