Canadian Blood Services needs Black Canadians to donate, but expert says barriers persist – CBC

1.6% of donors in stem cell registry are of African descent, compared to 3% of population

Dec 12, 2022

Canadian Blood Services is urging Black Canadians to help diversify its blood donor and stem cell registry base.

But one expert says that call needs to include an acknowledgement of historical harm that Canadian Blood Services itself has done to the Black community.

There are currently around 1,000 people in Canada looking for a stem cell donor through the organization.

But matches are only found among donors who share the same ethnicity and heritage as the recipient, said Matthew Seftel, a physician with the non-profit group.

About 1.6 per cent of donors in the stem cell donor registry are of African descent, while around three per cent of the Canadian population self-identify as Black, according to the 2016 census.

The chances of someone from a minority group, like an African Nova Scotian, finding a match would be close to impossible, said Trish Smith, regional communications officer with the group.

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