According to research, medical mistrust is a significant barrier to blood donation among minorities therefore better community education and communication is critical.
Researchers at Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University, USA, conducted the first systematic literature review of research on barriers and facilitators regarding blood donations among minorities. Nursing associate Professor Regena Spratling in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State and her colleagues in the Georgia Southern University School of Public Health conducted the research.
Overcoming medical mistrust
The research discovered that medical mistrust is a significant barrier to blood donation among minorities. More significant to healthcare providers is a lack of explanation to minority donors when they are turned down to be a donor.
For example, potential donors that are found to have low haemoglobin may believe that this permanently bans them from giving blood when they may be eligible later if they eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. The researchers suggested better education by healthcare providers working with these donors can reduce this barrier.
The researchers also found that knowing a blood transfusion recipient made minorities more likely to donate. In many minority communities, donating blood for a friend, family, church or community member is positively viewed. Cultural or community ties are linked closely to blood donation. Giving blood to benefit one’s community was a primary motivator.
Blood from donors with similar backgrounds reduces complications
Among minorities, a higher prevalence of blood-based, hereditary diseases, such as sickle cell and thalassemia, is found. These diseases increase the need for blood products in minority populations.
Moreover, blood from donors with similar backgrounds reduces the likelihood of severe transfusion complications. These subtle similarities go deeper into blood background than blood types A, B, AB and O and positive and negative Rh factor.
Having reviewed nearly four dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals on blood donation with corresponding data on donors, the researchers found the lack of widespread discussion of low minority blood donation was a primary barrier to solving the problem.