Barriers and motivators of Ghanaian and African-Surinamese migrants to donate blood

Elisabeth F. Klinkenberg*, Elisabeth M. J. Huis In ’t Veld, Puck D. De Wit, Wim L. A. M. De Kort, Mirjam P. Fransen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


African migrants are underrepresented as blood donors in many Western countries, which can lead to shortages of specific blood types for transfusion. More insight in the reasons for this underrepresentation is required to improve blood donor recruitment and retention strategies. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore barriers and motivators for donating blood among migrants of African background. The research population consisted of first and second generation African‐Surinamese (n = 20) and Ghanaian (n = 16) migrants living in the Netherlands. In semi‐structured personal interviews performed in 2016 and 2017, their experiences and opinions regarding blood donation, barriers, and motivators to (not) become a blood donor and their suggestions to improve recruitment were explored. Data collection was continued until data saturation was achieved. The interviews revealed that although all participants knew about blood donation in general, only four had previously heard of the Dutch national blood bank organisation. Participants expected that if blood was needed, the blood bank would directly approach them, as in their country of origin. Other main blood donation barriers were fear (e.g., of needles, losing too much blood) and issues related to health and non‐eligibility to donate. Main motivators were mainly of altruistic nature (e.g., saving a life) and an increased awareness of the need via personal recruitment appeals. It is concluded that expectations regarding donor recruitment—derived from the country of origin—and unawareness of the need for blood can act as important barriers in blood donation among African migrants. Contrary to studies in the United States and Australia, perceived discrimination and social exclusion did not seem to be a donation deterrent among migrants in the Netherlands. Creating awareness of the need of blood by actively approaching, and informing migrants about the donation procedure in the host country, should be considered by blood banks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-756
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ethnic Minorities
  • Sub-Saharan African
  • blood donors
  • motivation
  • qualitative research
  • the Netherlands


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