KNOWLEDGE, PERCEPTIONS, AND PRACTICES OF BLOOD DONATION AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BUEA
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Background: The demand for whole blood transfusion and derivatives is rising worldwide. However, blood collection agencies are increasingly facing the problem of recruitment and retention of adequate numbers of blood donors. In Africa, the annual blood donation rate is 5.6/1000 persons. According to the National Blood Transfusion Programme, Cameroon needs 400,000 units of blood annually; however, in 2020 only 32,328 units of safe blood were collected, which represent just 8% of the annual need. Therefore, solutions have to be sought to cater for this crucial problem.
Objectives: To assess the Knowledge, Perceptions, and Practices (KPP) of voluntary blood donation among undergraduate students in the University of Buea, and identify associated factors.
Methods: An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted on undergraduate students at the University of Buea. Respondents were selected using a multistage sampling technique. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics, the knowledge, perceptions, and practices towards blood donation. Using the yes/no, and Linkert scale scoring system, participants who had a score > 11 points in the knowledge and practices section were considered to have good knowledge and practices, and participants who had a score > 30 points in the perception section, were considered to have good perception. The Chi-square test and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess the associations. A p-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Among the 1271 students included, the proportions of students who had good knowledge, good perception and good practices (willingness) were 46.2%, 52.3% and 60.6% respectively. Good knowledge was significantly associated with age > 20 years p = 0.046, and being level 300 above p < 0.001, and non-health sciences student were less like to be knowledgeable than Health Sciences students p < 0.001. Perception was influenced by the male gender p = 0.011 and being in the non-health sciences field of study p < 0.001. Good knowledge and good perception were determinants of good practices (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Less than half of the students had good knowledge, while more than half had good perceptions and practices towards blood donation, even though only one tenth among them had ever donated blood in the past. Governmental and non-governmental bodies should collaborate with university authorities to improve the level of knowledge on blood donation by undertaking awareness campaigns.
Keywords: knowledge, perception, practice, voluntary blood donation, undergraduate students