Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ongoing controversy at South African National Blood Service

The controversy in South Africa that began over a racial profiling policy that accepted blood from black donors then destroyed it is multi-faceted. See TraQ's international news section.

After the policy was exposed, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) said that its risk management program was flawed because it relied heavily on race as a risk factor and that the risk model would be revised. SANBS also apologized to President Mbeki whose blood was discarded.

Subsequently, the organization was accused of sexual discrimination because it classifies donors who admitted to man-to-man sex as high risk, despite the statistics that in SA heterosexual women aged 18 to 24 are at high risk for HIV infections.

The latest issue is that SANBS has had to defend its policy of selling donated blood, explaining that they do not charge for blood per se, but rather for services rendered in the procurement, collection, testing, processing,and issuing of blood.

Despite the controversies, it is likely that SANBS will be chosen as South Africa's new national blood transfusion service.

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