THE Fiji National Blood Service is hunting for a rare blood group.
Health Ministry spokesman Shalvin Deo said the blood service was looking for people with the Rh negative blood group.
"Only about one in 100 people in Fiji have this blood type. This means it can be hard to find blood for patients with this rare blood type," he said.
Mr Deo said there was a short supply of the Rh negative blood group and the National Blood Service needed to supplement its supply.
FNBS co-ordinator Josefa Bolaqace said the answer to the issue was a "rare donor panel".
"This is a list of donors with the Rh negative blood group who we can call on for these patients. Of course, these donors have to pass all the usual health checks," he said.
Mr Bolaqace said more donors were needed to increase the rare donor panel.
"I am asking more Fijians to come forward but I would also encourage expatriates living in Fiji to consider donating blood.
"In fact, about 15 per cent of people of European descent have the Rh negative blood type so we would love to have them on our panel."
FNBS donor services officer Gillian Duffy said they had a panel of donors and people with Rh negative blood group also came to donate at times.
"Although we can store blood for 42 days, we ask those with Rh negative blood group who come to donate to wait," she said.
"We ask them to wait and we call on them when there is a need for the blood group instead of taking and storing it."
Mr Deo said people who want to give blood should contact the blood service at the CWM Hospital or divisional hospitals.
The FNBS is also trying to stock up its supply of other blood groups as a group of visiting surgeons will start cardiac surgeries at the CWM Hospital from mid-October.