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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

'We always need new donors': Medics urge UAE residents to give blood

Rare blood groups most in demand at Latifa Hospital's donor centre 

Blood is in constant demand at Latifa Hospital where donors can call in to give blood for use in hospitals around the UAE.  Ravindranath K / The National
Blood is in constant demand at Latifa Hospital where donors can call in to give blood for use in hospitals around the UAE.  Ravindranath K / The National

MAIN STORY: Dubai patient's urgent need for blood transfusion puts spotlight on dwindling reserves

Rare blood types are in demand at the Dubai Blood Donation Centre - but strict criteria to keep patients safe means not everyone is a suitable.

A recent illness, course of medication or family history of a blood disorder could prevent a potential donor from giving blood.

Former residents of the UK who lived there between 1986 and 2001 are also not permitted from giving blood in the UAE.

This is due to reported cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as 'mad cow disease'.

Although cases are rare, the disease can be passed on to humans who have eaten infected meat.

People who have also visited areas affected by malaria within the past two months are also not permitted to give blood.

“We are in demand for all blood types, but negative blood groups are less common so are in greater demand,” said Dr Mai Raouf, director of the Dubai Blood Donation Centre.

“Blood only lasts for 42 days so we always need donors to come forward to replenish these stocks.

“The priority is governed by the clinical case of the patient, whether they are in a government or private hospital.

“Those in greater need will always have priority of our blood supplies.”

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Read more:

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Blood banks appeal for donors amid Ramadan lull

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According to Dubai Health Authority, just 0.6 per cent of the UAE population is AB negative, 1.8 per cent are B negative, 2.4 per cent are A negative and 4 per cent are O negative.

O positive is the most common type, required by 38.6 per cent of people.

No hospitals have priority as to who can access blood supplies, patients in greatest need are first in line.

People can donate blood every eight weeks, with each donation potentially saving up to three lives.

Platelet collections are also important to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or those recovering from surgery who have suffered blood loss.

Platelets can be donated up to 24 times a year.

In 2017, the centre received 64,666 blood donors and collected 50,601 blood units and 5,828 blood platelets through 676 campaigns.

The blood donor centre at Latifa Hospital is open from 7am until 7pm daily, with two mobile buses arranging blood collection campaigns around Dubai from schools, businesses and religious centres.

Potential donors can assess their suitability via a mobile app, Dami.

“As a community we need to recognise that blood is necessary to save lives - it is a constant need and donating blood is a humanitarian deed,” said Dr Raouf.