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Health

The NHS’ official #GiveBlood Twitter account shares brilliant thread about black blood donors

November 7th 2017 / Judy Johnson Google+ Judy Johnson / 0 comment

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The GIF-heavy thread went viral this morning as people praised the account manager's funny and helpful explanation of why black blood donors are needed more than ever

Whoever manages the social media for the NHS’ blood service will no doubt be inundated with job offers today, after their thread this morning regarding black blood donors began to go viral.

Tweeting from @GiveBloodNHS, they gave a much-needed lesson on why they regularly do a call out for more black blood donors to come forward - and why, contrary to some feedback they’ve received, this is not about them being racist.

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Using entertaining GIFs to help illustrate their point with plenty of humour, the thread goes on to clear up some confusion about blood types and the fact that we all have different blood.

“Blood can have more than 30 different types or blood groups. You’ve all heard of ABO, right? That’s one blood group,” they tweeted. “And you’ve heard of people being ‘positive’ or ‘negative’? That’s another blood group.”

Continuing on the thread, they went on to explain that those with O negative blood type can donate to anyone.

However, the reason they request more black blood donors to come forward is not because all black people have one blood group, but that those “from the same ethnic background are more likely to have the same blood groups.” So why do they need more?

“Black people are more likely to have a rare subgroup called Ro. Ten times more likely than a white person,” they continued.

The account went on to explain that Ro blood is common in those with sickle cell disease (a life threatening condition, which incidentally is more common for black people). Sufferers need regular transfusions, and the better matched they are, the better the recovery - so the NHS needs more donors with Ro blood to come forward and help.

And the best way for them to communicate this? To ask for black donors - as, the account points out, many people don’t know what blood type they are.

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Of course, the NHS is always in need of more donors, and so once they’d perfectly clarified the race issue they reminded us all that no matter your colour, you could save lives. Hats off to the social media manager in charge for dealing with a tricky topic with expert precision, politeness and plenty of well-chosen GIFs.

Find out more about giving blood on their website

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