‘Iran, sole developing country having rare donor program’

January 11, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN — The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only developing country which has launched a national rare donor program designed for helping people with rare blood types, said an official at Iran’s Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO).

“So far, 1,000 Iranians with rare blood types have been added to our database,” Mostafa Moqaddam said.

Type O negative is a rare blood type. Only 7 percent of the population has O negative blood. It is the universal donor type. Because of its scarcity and ability to be transfused into people with other blood types, there is always an urgent need for the type.

“In the event of an emergency, finding a rare donor can be as difficult as looking for a needle in a haystack,” the IRNA news agency quoted Moqaddam as saying.

“So, in 2009 we started to prepare a program for rare blood types.”

Moqaddam, who serves as the director of the immunohematology reference laboratory of the IBTO, added that the database will be updated annually.

Iran officially joined the International Society of Blood Transfusion in 2010 and is the sole Islamic country which has a rare donor program, he said.

******* National Day of Rare Blood Types

Moqaddam stated that the National Day of Rare Blood Types has been observed in Iran on January 11 for four years now.

“Four years ago a-year-and-a-half girl diagnosed with a lung and heart disease needed a surgery but we couldn’t find any match for her as she had a rare blood type,” he explained.

“In a successful attempt the IBTO tracked down and found a match for the little girl and on January 11 we performed a surgery on her,” he noted.

Now the girl, who is almost six years old, is living a healthy and normal life thanks to the IBTO database.

The day the girl’s life was saved is now being observed as the National Day of Rare Blood Types.