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This week : donating bone marrow

Text by Regane RANUCCI

Latest update : 2009-09-15

There's a chance in a million that a patient on a bone marrow waiting list finds someone compatible. HEALTH looks into the different donating techniques and sees the disparities in Europe and the Middle East.

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue in the hip and the thigh bone. It contains stem cells which can help save the lives of people with lukemia ands other forms of cancer. HEALTH went to the Parisian insitute where people come to donate blood and bone marrow. This week France has launched a major campaign to encourage people to come forward and donate. Almost everyone can donate but they need to go through an interview with a doctor first and take a blood test. HEALTH look into the procedure. In France there is a national register of people ready to donate but this doesn't exist in Lebanon for example and African countries. An association has been set up in France to encourage people from the Middle East to donate. There is a 25% chance to find someone compatible within the family. But when relatives are far, as it is the case for diasporas, the chances of finding someone are reduced.

HEALTH also looked into US President Barack Obama's healthcare reform. 46 million americans are without health coverage.

Just after the US, France is the second country to spend the most on health. But its the governement who pays. The French could be asked to chip in to plug the gaping hole in the health budget.

Date created : 2009-09-15