Reconstructing Aboriginal Identity and the Meaning of the Body in Blood Donation Decisions
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Ethno-cultural disparities in blood and tissue donation patterns have been described as an emergent challenge in the context of the transfusion medicine literature (Boulware et al. in Med Care 40(2):85-95, 2002; Molzahn et al. in Nephrol Nurs J 30(1):17-26, 2003, Can J Nurs Res 36(4):110-128, 2004). In the North American context, much has been written about blood and tissue donation patterns among different religious and cultural groups within the United States. However, there are few available statistics or descriptive research that discusses blood donation decisions among Aboriginal Canadians. In 2001, Aboriginal Canadians represented approximately 4.1% of the total Canadian population, or 1.1 million persons (Birn et al., in Textbook of international health: global health in a dynamic world. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2009). Comparatively, Canada Blood Services reports that Aboriginal Canadians represent only 0.9% of registered donors (Canadian Blood Services 2011a). These low donation patterns suggest that blood donation choice among Aboriginal Canadians requires better understanding. This paper discusses several factors that may influence Aboriginal health choices, specifically those associated with blood donation decision-making. Several influential factors will be discussed, including: the meaning of the body and its parts in relationship to the interconnectedness of all things (religio-cultural), the reflexivity of choice and control (political), and relationships with others (social).
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