From next year, donors at Sanquin can have their blood checked for the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, immune problems and cancer, De Telegraaf reports. Sanquin will offer these extra health checks to make it more attractive to donors. The blood bank wants to contribute to a healthier Netherlands.
Director Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi states that this ‘scientific donorship’ will give preventive medicine an enormous boost. ‘It is not only good for the donor to be ahead of a disease, but also on a national level it is good to have a picture of the health of the Dutch and to act on it. Now we only intervene once the disease has been diagnosed.’
Medical examination before donation
At the moment, donors are medically examined for each donation, but only for the presence of blood-borne infections. This is done for the safety of the donor and the recipient of the blood product.
Sanquin spokesperson Marloes Metaal says in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal that donors can indicate themselves during the new health check whether they want the feedback. ‘We do not make a diagnosis, but we can point out the first signs of diabetes, for example. People may then be able to avoid getting sick by adjusting their lifestyle.’
Donor Benevolence Research
Sanquin’s research shows that almost all donors – now approximately 400,000 – want to participate in preventive medicine by detecting disease in the blood. When asked whether the donor wants personal feedback if something is found, about three quarters still say yes. ‘People are therefore very positive about our offer, which we will start pilots with in January. We call it scientific donorship’, says the Sanquin director.