Problems associated with remunerated blood donors in the United Arab Emirates : a study of clinical and social problems associated with the transfusion of blood and plasma collected from paid donors and the merits of voluntary donation
Over a transition period of approximately 10 years, the transfusion service has moved from a situation in which donors were paid a fee for each visit to the blood bank to that of regular, unpaid contributions. This study set out to measure two important aspects of this change to a non-remunerated system of blood donations: any fall in the number of eligible donors and changes in the incidence of serological markers. This was carried out by an analysis of the data from two studies. i) A retrospective analysis of 10 years of data returns (1990- 1999) from the blood donation programme, which seeks to make comparisons between paid and unpaid donors in terms of the incidence of positive serological markers. ii) A prospective study to obtain and evaluate community knowledge about blood donation in all parts of the United Arab Emirates, sampling existing donors and non-donors. An initial survey of 500 subjects, 250 donors and 250 non-donors was carried out at the beginning of the study and then repeated one year later. From both studies the following conclusions were reached. 1) There is a continuing need to emphasize public awareness by education and blood donation. 2) There should be a concentration on educated people in the retention of blood donors and the application of the importance of voluntary, non-remunerated donors. 3) The promotion of participation in the blood transfusion programme by those of a lower level of education should also be encouraged. 4) Students from varying socio-economic levels are an important target group. 5) The support given to mobile campaigns throughout the Emirates should be increased. 6) Greater use of the media to reach the population and encourage recruitment and motivation is required. 7) The establishment of ‘Blood Donor Committees’ in the Universities is necessary to encourage students to become future blood donors. 8) There should be greater emphasis on the work of Preachers in the mosques and other religious institutions, to discuss blood donation and link to humanitarian practice.