Who’s Blood is it anyway
A major political argument erupted in 2004, when the SA National Blood Transfusion Service (SANBS) refused to accept into their stock, blood taken from the then president, Thabo Mbeki. Manto Tshabala-Msimang, then Minister of Health, became seriously non-amused, hysterically screeching that non-use of this blood amounted to nothing more than extreme, rabid, racism. She made threats that the chief medical executive officer of the SANBS, be immediately dismissed on the grounds of being a racist, which had been soundly outlawed in the new SA Constitution of 1984.
The true facts of this case were that Thabo Mbeki when donating blood, did not complete the compulsory, relevant, blood – donation questionnaire. According to the standing medical procedures in place, for this reason, the SANBS was not permitted to accept the blood taken. It was further brought up by the Minister of Health, that the SANBS standard questionnaire was also a racist document, as all donors had to disclose which race group they belonged to.
In the South African Medical Journal of April 2004, research indicated that the average risk of a black South African being HIV positive, was at least 500 times greater than that of a white compatriot. This is fact, not fiction. Because Black donors were such a high risk group, the race question was asked in the questionnaire, prior to donation, to protect the recipients of the donated blood, from contracting a fatal disease with no known cure.
This is not a unique situation to South Africa, as the officials at the French Blood Transfusion Services, were prosecuted at one point, for allowing high risk groups to donate blood. Statistics do vary, as so many aids related deaths are for many reasons misclassified, but it is estimated that at present SA has about 18 – 20 % of the population ( i.e. 9 – 10 million ) living with the AIDS disease.
Should the politically motivated insinuation of racism be allowed to put the whole population at risk, or is this attitude nothing but one of complete irresponsibility.
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