Britain’s blood and transplant bank was defending itself against claims of racism from some critics in Britain over its campaign seeking Black blood donors. NHS Blood and Transplant emphasized that “everyone’s blood is not the same” in a series of tweets it fired off on Tuesday that have since gone viral.
The blood bank launched a campaign to get 40,000 more donors to meet the demand for Ro blood, which is most common among Blacks, the Guardian reported in June. That rare blood type is needed to treat sickle cell anemia, a condition predominantly found in people of African descent.
Black people are about 10 times more likely to have Ro blood type than White people.
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become misshapen and consequently making it difficult for the cells to transport oxygen through the body, according to the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross said the condition affects more than 70,000 Americans, and many of them need blood transfusions weekly. Blood from compatible donors of the same ethnic background decreases the chances of rejection.
Here are some facts about sickle cell anemia:
—The affliction doesn’t only affect African-Americans, according to the Aaron Ardoin Foundation for Sickle Research & Education. It also affects people of native South and Central American descent, as well as those of Mediterranean origins.
—People don’t “catch” sickle cell anemia. It’s a genetic condition inherited from parents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
—People with sickle cell anemia can live a normal, productive life, despite the need for frequent blood transfusions, as treatments are improving.