Socio-Cultural Barriers to Voluntary Blood Donation for Obstetric Use in a Rural Nigerian Village

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
African Journal of Reproductive Health 01/2006; 9(3):72-6. DOI: 10.2307/3583413
Source: PubMed


Availability of blood for transfusion is of utmost importance in the fight against maternal morbidity and mortality. This study was conducted to identify the socio-demographic characteristics and reasons of persons declining voluntary blood donation. Patients' relatives declining blood donation in rural Ebonyi State were randomly recruited and interviewed using standardised questionnaire after obtaining informed consent from each of them. Responses were ranked according to frequency of positive respondents. Illiteracy was prevalent among the population: over 76% had no formal education. 'Not being strong enough' and 'not having enough blood' were the two major reasons for declining blood donation, while loss of manhood/libido and exposure of blood to witchcraft were the other reasons given. Respondents' level of awareness of HIV/AIDS was appreciable. Socio-cultural barriers to voluntary blood donation exist in predominantly illiterate rural communities of the country. Most of the reasons given were based on misconception, misinformation and ignorance about the effect and safety of blood donation.

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Available from: Odidika Ugochukwu Joannes Umeora, Jun 19, 2014
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    • "There may also be religious reasons why blood donation is perceived negatively . For example, Jehovah's Witnesses are prohibited from giving blood, and this religion is practiced widely in sub-Saharan Africa (Umeora et al. 2005 ). Blood is also imbued with economic and political values and can be exchanged for cash or medical services in some countries. "

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    • "They were often anemic and needed blood transfusion and other forms of resuscitation prior to definitive investigations and treatment. This was a huge challenge in our centre as more than 46% needed transfusion, and blood for transfusion is not readily available, such that the blood bank operators had to often recourse to the poor relatives of the poor patients for blood, without success.28 "
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    ABSTRACT: Cervical cancer is still a major contributor to cancer-related mortality amongst women living in poor, rural communities of developing countries. The objective of this study is to establish the clinical presentation of cervical cancer and the management challenges encountered in Abakaliki, southeast Nigeria, with a view to finding intervention strategies. This study is a retrospective descriptive assessment of cases of clinically diagnosed cervical cancer managed at a state teaching hospital over six years. Of 76 cases managed, 61 (80.3%) cases notes were available for study. The mean age and parity of patients were 53.8 years and 6.8 years, respectively. The majority (75.4%) were illiterate. All had been married, but 42.6% were widowed. The main occupations were farming or petty trading. One patient (1.6%) had had a single Pap smear in her life. The major presenting complaints were abnormal vaginal bleeding (86.9%), offensive vaginal discharge (41.0%), and weight loss. Twenty patients (32.8%) were lost to follow-up prior to staging. Of the remaining 41 patients, 16 (39.0%) had stage III disease and 17.1% stage IV. Fifteen patients (24.6%) with late stage disease accepted referral, and were referred for radiotherapy. Those who declined were discharged home on request, though 4 (9.8%) died in the hospital. There was no feedback from referred patients confirming that they went and benefitted from the referral. The presentation followed known trends. Illiteracy, poverty, early marriages, high parity, widowhood, non-use of screening methods, late presentation, non-acceptance of referral, and lack of communication after referral were some of the major challenges encountered. These underscore the needs for health education and awareness creation, women educational and economic empowerment, legislation against early marriages and in protection of widows, and creation of a well-staffed and well-equipped dedicated gynecologic oncology unit to forestall further referral.
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    • "Within African communities it has been reported that there is also a fear of negative consequences of giving blood, such as opening one up to potential 'attack by witchcraft or voodoo' (Umeora, Onuh and Umeora 2005) as well assome general religious opposition to giving blood in Christian denominations such as Jehovah's Witnesses (Hudson and Johnson 2004). In other religions, such as Islam, religious leaders have put out proclamations stating that blood and organic donation were not only acceptable, but in fact a responsibility, although some confusion in the community related to this mater still exists (Shaheen and Soquiyyeh 2004). "

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