The acceptability to women in Mombasa, Kenya, of the donation and transfusion of umbilical cord blood for severe anaemia in young children

Hassall O, Ngina L, Kongo W, Othigo J, Mandaliya K, Maitland K, Bates I
Vox Sang. 2008;94

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Severe anaemia, for which a blood transfusion can be life saving, is common in hospitalized children in sub-Saharan Africa but blood for transfusion is often in short supply. Umbilical cord blood is usually thrown away but could be a useful source of red cells for small volume transfusions in young children in this setting. The objective of this study was to evaluate the attitudes of women using the maternity services of the provincial hospital in Mombasa, Kenya, towards cord blood donation and transfusion, and essential aspects of this process including informed consent and the acceptability of screening for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A structured questionnaire was developed based on data provided by focus group discussions with women attending the hospital's maternity unit and administered to women who had recently delivered at the hospital. RESULTS: Of the 180 women who completed a questionnaire, the donation and transfusion of cord blood were acceptable to 81% and 78%, respectively. Ninety per cent of women who supported cord blood donation were willing to undergo further HIV testing at the time of delivery. Seventy-seven per cent of women wanted informed consent to be sought for cord blood donation and 66% of these felt they could make this decision alone. CONCLUSION: The donation of umbilical cord blood and its transfusion are acceptable to the majority of women delivering at Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa. Findings from the study will benefit the planned cord blood donation programme at this facility.