Objective: With a goal to establish strategies for improving blood safety in resource-limited conditions, the outcome of blood transfusion in a hospital setting of Cameroon was examined.
Methods: A 5-year descriptive and prospective study was conducted in which information on donor blood and recipients was obtained by direct patient observation and by examining patient notes in the various services of the hospital and records from the blood bank.
Results: Of 40,134 donations, 35,318 (88%) were from relatives or friends of recipients. Only 80% of all donated blood was considered safe for distribution. An average of about 20% of donated blood was rejected each year for positive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B antigen results. Other infections were not screened for. More than 50% of transfusions within the hospital were associated with an unfavorable outcome, predominantly febrile reactions and urticaria (40.1% and 19.4%, respectively). Acute intravascular hemolysis, circulatory overload, and deaths occurred in 0.01%, 0.04%, and 0.14% of cases, respectively. A case of post-transfusion HIV infection was also detected.
Conclusions: Blood transfusion is still unsafe in many resource-limited communities of developing countries. However, it is possible to reduce some of these complications without sophisticated technology. Efforts to recruit more benevolent and autologous donors in the communities are essential.