Calls for more Pasifika blood donors in New Zealand
June 14th marks the annual celebration of World Blood Donor Day. It is a day that commemorates the contribution of blood donors in providing healthcare with the lifesaving gift of blood and blood products. The special day also serves to spread awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for those who need them to survive.
There are currently around 3900 Pasifika blood donors in New Zealand, but with many Pasifika recipients in need of blood/plasma transfusions, healthcare professionals are asking for more Pasifika volunteers to donate.
“There are some blood groups that are rare in the general population, but more common in the Pasifika population,” says Auckland Doctor Gavin Cho. “So Pasifika blood donors are very valuable. They provide something no one else can.”
Ancestry plays a vital role in blood donation. When there is an emergency involving a Pasifika patient, there may be a significant demand in a certain blood type that only Pasifika blood donors can supply.
The small number in Pasifika donors could be due to low awareness. New Zealand Broadcaster Neil Waka says: “It might just be an education piece, and knowing that there is a place near them, near us where we can go and give freely.”
Every week 3000 blood donations are needed, and with just one donation, the lives of up to three people could be saved. Blood donations can be given every three months, and plasma donations can be given every two weeks. Healthcare professionals say it’s never been easier to donate now that there are more donation times and spaces available.
Those interested in becoming a blood donor can download the NZ Blood Service Donor app, visit nzblood.co.nz or call 0800 448 325 (0800 GIVE BLOOD) and book an appointment to donate.
By Ann-Tauilo Motuga