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The Paradoxical Situation of Blood Donation in the Haitian-Quebec Community


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Charbonneau, Johanne et Tran, Nathalie (2015). The Paradoxical Situation of Blood Donation in the Haitian-Quebec Community Canadian Ethnic Studies / Études ethniques au Canada , vol. 47 , nº 2. pp. 71-96. DOI: 10.1353/ces.2015.0021.

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Blood donation involves precise regulations aiming to protect donors and recipients. At the beginning of the 1980’s, thousands of Canadians were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C. To prevent the contamination of blood products, health authorities asked Haitians, among other groups, to voluntarily refrain from giving blood. Witness testimonies at the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada (Krever Commission) show how profoundly affected Haitians were by these events. Today, we know that it is preferable to use phenotyped blood from the same community as the donor in the case of certain diseases. Increasing blood donation from the Black community is believed to be the best way to find donors who will be compatible with patients suffering from sickle-cell disease. Blood supply agencies such as Héma-Québec are seeking to convince Haitians to give blood in greater numbers. However, this task represents a great challenge, since, less than one generation ago, authorities asked that Haitians voluntarily abstain from donating blood. This paradoxical situation inspired the present analysis. Through the conceptual lens of a constructivist approach to ethnicity, this case study draws on a number of sources. By retracing the history of this community and the major events that have affected it over the decades, we are brought to a better understanding of the perceptions and realities of the Haitian community in Montreal with regard to blood donation. Our analyses show that even if Haitian-Quebec leaders are positively disposed towards blood donation, our results also expose that past events of the 1980’s have not been forgotten. Even if many are now willing to give blood to meet specific medical needs, for some, this could also contradict the usual universalist and altruistic message of blood donation. This case study highlights the importance of examining what happens at the relational boundary between minority and majority groups: after all, these events also contribute to redefining them.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: blood donation; Haitians;
Centre: Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Date de dépôt: 21 juill. 2017 14:20
Dernière modification: 03 août 2017 18:43
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/5863

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