Attitudes towards blood donation and transfusion in Bamenda, Republic of Cameroon

Transfus Med. 2011 Oct;21(5):301-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2011.01079.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18.


Objectives: This study was conducted in Bamenda, Cameroon. The objectives of the study were to develop a theoretical framework to better understand local attitudes towards blood donation and transfusion, to identify factors that motivate and deter blood donation and to identify interventions to improve the supply of blood for transfusion at Bamenda Regional Hospital.

Background: The supply of blood for transfusion in sub-Saharan Africa is insufficient. Cameroon has no national blood service and the collection and screening of blood is the responsibility of individual hospitals. At Bamenda Regional Hospital patient relatives recruit replacement blood donors, who may or may not be family members, and shortages of blood and delays in transfusion are frequent.

Materials and methods: Qualitative research methods were used: direct observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and a simulation exercise. Participants were clinical and laboratory staff, patient relatives, blood donors, secondary school students and community members.

Results: Attitudes towards blood donation and transfusion fit a transanctionalist framework of health decision making. Deterrents to blood donation are multiple and varied. Some form of compensation is often expected, even by family members, although the blood donation is still considered 'voluntary' by the donor.

Conclusion: This study confirms that interventions to improve the blood supply must take into account local attitudes and conditions. In Bamenda, a variety of pragmatic approaches are required including education around specific biological misperceptions identified in the study and the retention of replacement donors as repeat donors. Issues around compensation for blood donation require further work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Blood Donors / psychology
  • Blood Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Blood Transfusion / psychology*
  • Cameroon
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Qualitative Research