Blood sample collection riles uninformed parents

TN News

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The parents of several students at a secondary boarding school in Nghe An Province have complained that the school failed to inform them before allowing blood samples to be taken from their children to be used in a blood disease study last month.

They told Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper Tuesday that Hong Tien Secondary School in Quy Hop District's Chau Hong Commune held a meeting on December 22 to address the parental uproar. At that time school officials explained to parents why blood had been drawn from their children.

The Nghe An People's Committee had asked Vinh Medical University to study the occurrence of thalassemias in children belonging to the Thai and H' Mong ethnic groups of Nghe An in 2011, after several Thai and H' Mong students were found to be suffering from the blood disorder, said Hoang Van Hao, deputy director of the Nghe An Health Department. 

Thalassemias are inherited blood disorders that cause the body to produce below normal levels of hemoglobin the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Nguyen Trong Tai, the university's dean, said that blood tests are necessary to detect thalassemias and that the study required 1,250 1-2 ml samples.

Kim Van Huong, Chairman of the Chau Hong Commune People's Committee, was quoted by Lao Dong as saying on Monday that the People's Committee, along with the school, allowed personnel from Vinh Medical University to take blood samples from students on December 20 without first informing their parents.

Sixty parents of students at the elementary school inquired with authorities regarding the test, following rumors that teachers had colluded with criminals to steal students' blood for trading, Huong said. After having the matter explained, the parents had no objections.

Tai of Vinh Medical University, who admitted to local media that he should have made sure parents had been informed about the blood tests beforehand, cited analysis results from the National Hospital of Pediatrics as saying that 9.7 percent of 1,200 samples taken from local children had tested positive for thalassemias.

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