Lack of blood donors
A lack of blood donors for rare blood groups forces Stockholm hospitals to buy blood from other countries, according to a report by Radio P4 Stockholm. Strict restrictions make it difficult for blood centers in Sweden to get blood for patients with Asian, African or South American origins. In Stockholm alone, it is believed there are hundreds of patients in need of blood donors with rare blood groups. “It may take 24 hours or even more before we receive the blood,” says Marja-Kaisa Auvinen, senior physician at Blodcentralen. “Almost every country has some unique blood group. In Sweden there’s a rare blood group that you find in families in Västerbotten. In Finland there are certain families with a blood group found nowhere else in Europe. In Africans there are blood groups common in Africa, but very rare in Sweden.” Throughout the world there’s a total of 30 blood groups, but few of the people in the north have the kind of blood groups that are found on the southern hemisphere. And because of restrictions, the Swedish blood centrals couldn’t for a long time receive blood from donors who spent time in areas where there was malaria. “So far there haven’t been any good, cheap tests showing whether a person has had malaria or not,” says Lottie Furugård, communication officer at Stockholms blodcentral. “We are, however, in the middle of a project where we are connecting a number of blood donors who can donate blood to patients with rare blood groups.”