Bombay blood group, also know as HH blood type, is so rare that only 0.0004% of the total world population has it. When a Myanmarese woman with this uncommon blood type was set to undergo a heart surgery, it became a cause of great concern. Fortunately, help arrived in the form of two units of Bombay blood group all the way from Karnataka to Yangon General Hospital in Myanmar.

The initiative was carried forward by Sankalp India Foundation. The organization has set up a network called BombayBloodGroup.Org to keep track of rare blood types. They used an international courier service to pick up the blood units and ship them to Myanmar in perfectly-preserved condition.

“The team keeps track of Bombay blood group donors, available units and requests for rare blood groups in India, and even abroad. With no known donors in Myanmar, the only option was to ship units from India,” said SIF convenor Rajat Agarwal.

How SIF Shipped Rare Blood From India To Myanmar?

As soon as they received a request for Bombay blood group, the SIF team began checking its availability. They found two units at SS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Institute in Devanagere. The team then coordinated with the in-charge of the blood bank and principal of the institute. Thealso had to take necessary permission from National Institute of Immuno-Haematology in Mumbai. The units were dispatched on 27th November.

The said units were collected at a recent blood donation camp. Given that the shelf life of preserved blood units is only 35 days, these samples would have expired in the next 10 days. The Myanmarese woman is extremely lucky that her surgery was scheduled during this period.

What is Bombay blood group?

All the known blood types such as A, B, AB, and O have antigen H. This particular antigen is missing in Bombay blood group. It possesses antibody H instead. This makes the blood group so uncommon that only one in 10,000-17,000 Indians has it. People with this rare blood type can only receive blood from matching donors.

HH blood group was discovered by Dr. Y.M. Bhende in 1952 in Mumbai (then known as Bombay). Hence, it came to be known as Bombay blood group.