Myths on Blood Donation and Transfusion: We are facing regularly a lot of myths and traditional and customary beliefs about medical conditions and health care. And these constitute hindrances to the acceptance of blood donation for blood transfusion services.
Unfortunately, Subsaharan Africa where the greatest percentage of these services are needed globally is where these challenges are commonest.
These are partly due to our poor nutritional state, poor health-seeking behaviour, malaria burden, and heavy intestinal worms infestations.
Experience of Myths on Blood Donation and Transfusion in the Emergency Room
Three middle-aged men brought to us in the obstetric emergency room a 27-year-old woman. Before, the woman had difficult labour and delivery lasting more than 24 hours. The mother inlaw conducted the delivery at home. And it was her 5th pregnancy.
However, after the delivery of the baby, she retained the placenta. Following this, the family brought her to our health facility for expert care.
Then, we examined her. She was weak, pale, feverish, dehydrated, and with both legs swollen.
Expectedly, she had fast breathing with a heart rate above the normal, tender lower abdomen, with the uterus being 20 weeks in size.
Additionally, she had a blood-smeared edematous vagina with the placenta intact, protruding from the vaginal orifice.
Subsequently, we ordered laboratory investigations. The pack cell volume was 12 percent. This means there is an urgent need for blood transfusion before attempting to deliver the placenta. Doing otherwise, she is at risk of postpartum haemorrhage which would further complicate her clinical state.
We informed the family about the need to donate blood. The immediate reaction of the woman amazed every health worker present. The woman declined on behalf of the husband. She argued that the husband was a farmer who works manually. Then she further insisted that by looking at the husband’s lanky nature, that common sense should have told us that the husband is having just a little quantity of blood.
To them, if the man donates, there would be little or no blood left in him. And that he would not live. This is a myth that this article is addressing
The Myths/False Beliefs
1. The more you weigh the more blood you have to donate
This is false, as body size does not determine blood volume. Though we recommend 50 years of age and above.
2. Donating blood can make one’s health deteriorate
There is no deterioration in health, provided that one is healthy prior to the procedure, and with adequate haemoglobin level. One can take some rest and drink some fluid after the donation.
3. Donating blood prevents one from engaging in routine activities.
No. you can rest for the day but can continue your routine activities the next day.
Conclusion of Myths on Blood Donation and Transfusion
Finally, adhering to the eligibility criteria for donor selection and the procedure carried out by a trained health professional using the guideline, blood donation has little or no harm. Therefore, most of the beliefs are just myths due to a lack of correct information.