View Full Version : Bad Blood About Black Donors

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 10:25 PM
By Sonja Carstens

Pretoria - If you are black or Coloured, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) does not want your blood. This came to light in a ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in a case between the SANBS and the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) over the unfair dismissal of a union member.

Poppie Bereng, a nurse, was dismissed because she opposed the SANBS's policy not to use the blood of black or Coloured donors, no matter how long they have been donating blood, because they are considered to be too much of a risk. Their blood is instead incinerated or destroyed in another manner. The CCMA said Bereng, who is black, had conscientious objections to the policy as a Christian and she was upset because she had to lie to black donors who believed their blood was being used to save the lives of others.

Bereng worked on a contract basis for the SANBS before she was given a permanent appointment on July 5. On July 16, she attended an urgent staff meeting where the shortage of blood was discussed. At the meeting, one of her colleagues asked whether high-risk donors in category 3 and 4 could be recruited. It was explained to Bereng that category 3 and 4 donors were black and Coloured donors respectively whose blood was not used. Bereng testified that she was "shocked" and wanted clarity on the policy before signing her service contract. She was not prepared to remain in the service of an employer who supported a "discriminatory policy".

Services terminated

After another meeting, Bereng was given until August 2 to sign the contract. She received a letter the next day that her service had been terminated. Commissioner Thamsanga Garry Mvumbi found that Bereng's demands were not unreasonable under the Constitution. "I find the allegations that the policy - to discriminate against blacks because of their skin colour - was approved by the World Health Organisation frightening and baseless. I cannot believe that the minister of health would allow such a policy to exist in a democratic country," Mvumbi said.

He ordered the SANBS to re-employ Bereng and pay out R46 662 as six months of her salary. Hospersa applied to the CCMA for an attachment order after the SANBS re-employed Bereng but did not pay out the money. This application has not been heard. The SANBS has taken the CCMA ruling under review. On the SANBS's donor form, the donor has to indicate his or her ethnic group "for statistical purposes".

Source: http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1629981,00.html

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 10:34 PM
Yes, I heard about this. A blood donation by their President was destroyed as being a risk.

Here's the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/06/wmbeki06.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/12/06/ixworld.html

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 10:53 PM
Yes, I heard about this. A blood donation by their President was destroyed as being a risk.

Here's the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/06/wmbeki06.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/12/06/ixworld.html
LOL, Interesting. Let me paste the article before it is inaccessible:

Mbeki's blood was destroyed as a risk
By David Blair
(Filed: 06/12/2004)

Blood donated by President Thabo Mbeki after an urgent appeal in South Africa was destroyed because it was regarded as a health risk, it emerged yesterday.

South Africa's National Blood Service incinerated Mr Mbeki's donation after the president failed to complete a compulsory questionnaire about his personal health.
Mr Mbeki's aides said the president never filled in application forms and had asked for a special dispensation. But Ravi Reddy, the National Blood Service's technical director, told the Sunday Independent newspaper that the president's donation had simply been destroyed.

"We had to take a decision whether to abort bleeding the president, which would have been a disaster from a publicity point of view, or whether to draw blood and then dispose of it," he said.

But the Sunday Independent said there might have been a further reason for the disposal of Mr Mbeki's blood after he arrived at a clinic in Durban in December 2001. The National Blood Service incinerated many donations from black South Africans because they were considered a high Aids risk, although it had now dropped race from its risk assessments.

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 11:24 PM
Why do they bother taking blood from Negroids at all? Isn't it just a waiste of time if they will destroy it anyway? Is sounds like they still take negroids' blood because they are afraid of the public-relations' reprocusions of denying negroids to their faces.

Friday, December 10th, 2004, 11:25 PM
And there is more still:

South Africa to end racial profiling of blood donors

Rory Carroll in Johannesburg
Saturday December 4, 2004
The Guardian

South Africa is to stop racially profiling blood donors after an outcry over the alleged rejection of blood from black donors because of the risk of HIV.
The health ministry and the South African National Blood Service agreed yesterday that a donor's colour should not be be used to determine the risk of infected blood.

The row flared this week when the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, discovered that alongside sexual practices and healthiness of lifestyle, the blood service used skin colour to evaluate safety for donation. "It smacks of racism," she said.

More than 5 million South Africans are estimated to have the virus which causes Aids, more than any other country. According to some figures, black people are at least twice as likely to be infected as white people.

The blood service initially said racial profiling was necessary and in line with international practice for assessing risk, but that whether a donation was from a first-time, regular or lapsed donor was more important than race.

Regular donors deemed Category 1, or the lowest risk, were either white or Indian. Category 2, slightly higher risk, comprised Indians and whites donating for the first time as well as people of mixed race. Black people were classified in categories 3 and 4 because hepatitis and HIV were deemed more widespread among Africans.

Robert Crookes, medical director of the blood service, told the South African Press Association this was the "most logical, medical, ethical and legally defensible system available".

But yesterday the blood service appeared to row back after its chief executive, Anton Heyns, met health ministry officials in Johannesburg.

"The current risk-rating model needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency," a health department spokesman said. "Other scientific determinants should be identified and integrated into the model to determine risk more accurately."