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Tapping into a vital resource: Understanding the motivators and barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa
African Journal of Emergency Medicine (2016)
  • Denise Hersey
  • Dr. Tanja Zanin
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has a need for blood and blood products that exceeds current availability. This unmet demand is evidenced by persistently high mortality rates associated with potentially reversible conditions such as haemorrhage and anaemia. This study reviews current literature on blood donation in SSA to identify common local motivators and deterrents to blood donation and highlights specific interventions that have successfully increased the number of blood donors in this region.

The authors searched the health literature to identify original studies conducted in SSA that addressed blood donation motivators and deterrents. Data were then extracted from each study to determine how often each study identified specific motivators and deterrents.

Pro-social motivation, such as altruism and the desire to have a positive effect on the community, is the most frequently noted reason for people in SSA countries to donate blood. Negative attitudes and misconceptions towards blood donation, in addition to perceived negative health effects caused by donation, are the two most frequently mentioned reasons that dissuade individuals from donating blood.

Due to paucity of research on this topic, our understanding of blood donor behaviour in SSA is limited. Local traditions and cultures intimately shape individuals’ proclivity towards the donation process. In order to change the attitudes and behaviours of many potential donors in SSA it is important to address the deterrents to blood donation, as many represent misconceptions or culture-specific beliefs that may be the ultimate driving force dictating donor behaviour.
Publication Date
June, 2016
Citation Information
Denise Hersey and Tanja Zanin. "Tapping into a vital resource: Understanding the motivators and barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa" African Journal of Emergency Medicine Vol. 6 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 70 - 79
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