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Lancet. 2003 Feb 22;361(9358):678-9.

Umbilical-cord blood for transfusion in children with severe anaemia in under-resourced countries.

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  • 1Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, L3 5QA, Liverpool, UK.


Shortage of blood for transfusion contributes substantially to mortality of children with severe anaemia in sub-Saharan Africa. Umbilical-cord blood could be an additional and readily available source of blood. We aimed to show whether it is possible to gather cord blood in a busy Ghanaian labour ward. Mean volume of each blood sample obtained from the umbilical cord was 85 mL (SD 28.0). This amount of blood is sufficient to raise the haemoglobin concentrations of 28 (21%) of 131 children needing transfusions in the same hospital, by 30 g/L. Further work is needed to improve the sterility of cord blood and to establish the resource and logistical implications of scaling-up for sub-Saharan Africa transfusion services.

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