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Transfusion. 2014 Mar;54(3 Pt 2):797-804. doi: 10.1111/trf.12216. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Can family or replacement blood donors become regular volunteer donors?

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Transfusion Medicine Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana; Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.



In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) confirmed viral marker prevalence between family donors (FDs) and first-time volunteer nonremunerated donors (VNRDs) is similar. In a blood service collecting 10 units/1000 inhabitants, a questionnaire examined FD donation conditions and willingness of becoming repeat VNRDs.


Four areas were explored: circumstances of visit to hospital, external pressure, experience of donating, and potential repeat donation. After donation and consent, research assistants administered 25 questions and, according to literacy, helped with translation and completion.


Of 513 FDs, three-fourths were males (median age, 27 years). Only 1.3% were unemployed and more than 50% were students or teachers. Ties with hospitalized patient were family (76%), friends (13%), colleagues, or sharing place of worship (10%). Donating blood was the reason for visiting in 16.8% and 20.9% had previously donated blood probably as FDs. In one-third of FDs, the family asked for donation of which 10% was pressured by the unjustified reason that not donating was endangering the patient's life. For two-thirds of FDs, donation was given "because individuals were asked." Donation was a positive experience for 77% of donors, 62% being interested in predonation testing. Repeating donation was acceptable for 99% of 79% FDs answering.


FDs are active in the population, are willing to donate blood if asked, are submitted to little pressure, do not receive incentives, and accept repeat donation. Except for circumstances of donation, FDs are not different from VNRDs and more directly motivated. They constitute a legitimate and important source to improve the blood supply in SSA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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