The evaluation of blood donor deferral causes in Zimbabwe

N. Mafirakureva, S. Khoza, M. Van Hulst, M.J. Postma, D.A. Mvere

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Background: Donor selection is one of the first steps in blood donation aimed at improving the safety of blood and blood products. It is the only line of protection for donors and against certain infections for which testing is not performed. There is paucity of published data on reasons for donor deferral characteristics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aims: To quantify the rate and reasons for blood donor deferral among voluntary non-remunerated blood donors in Zimbabwe. Methods: A retrospective audit of all blood donors who reported for donation at the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) or any of its collection sites, for the period, 1 January 2011-31 December 2011, was conducted. Eleven deferral categories were created that included malaria, medication, high risk behaviour, feeling unwell, positive TTI results, medical diagnoses, blood pressure, other infections, failed copper sulphate test, donor reactions and other reasons. Deferral rates per 10,000 donor visits were determined for each deferral category and for subgroups based on blood donation status (first time or repeat), sex, age and donation site (fixed or mobile). Results: 51,893 prospective blood donors presented for donation in 2011 and the majority were first time blood donors (62.2%). Most of the prospective donors (74.1%) presented for donation at mobile sites. There were 48,241 (93.0%) donors eligible to donate and 3652 (7.0%) deferred donor visits. The overall deferral rates ranged from 2 per 10,000 visits for donor reactions to 371 per 10,000 visits for positive TTI results. Deferral rates varied by the different demographic subcategories; donor status, sex, age and donation site. Positive TTI results and failed copper sulphate test had overly high rates of deferral across all the demographic subcategories (range 1 per 10,000 to 299 per 10,000 visits). Summary/conclusions: Donor deferrals are fairly common in Zimbabwe. The overall rate of deferral is comparable to values reported in middle - high income countries, however the causes and demographics differ. This may indicate differences in donor selection criteria and practice. Understanding reasons for donor deferral is important for the development of appropriate and cost-effective education, donor selection, recruitment and marketing strategies. Table 1: Number of presenting donors at the National Blood Service Zimbabwe centers and donation outcome for year 2011. (Table presented).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97
Number of pages1
JournalVox Sanguinis
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2013


  • copper sulfate
  • blood donor
  • Zimbabwe
  • society
  • blood transfusion
  • donor
  • donor selection
  • blood bank
  • infection
  • blood
  • medical audit
  • blood pressure
  • human
  • high risk behavior
  • Africa
  • drug therapy
  • malaria
  • diagnosis
  • marketing
  • education
  • income
  • protection
  • safety

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