Blood utilization at a national referral hospital in sub-Saharan Africa

Elissa K. Butler, Heather Hume, Isaac Birungi, Brenda Ainomugisha, Ruth Namazzi, Henry Ddungu, Isaac Kajja, Susan Nabadda, Jeffrey McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND A safe and adequate supply of blood is critical to improving health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, where little is known about the current use of blood. The aim of this study was to comprehensively describe the use of blood at a tertiary care hospital to inform future efforts to strengthen blood programs in resource-limited settings. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS Data were collected from blood bank documentation for all units issued at Mulago Hospital Complex in Kampala, Uganda, from mid-January to mid-April 2014. RESULTS A total of 6330 units (69% whole blood, 32% red blood cells, 6% platelets, 2% plasma) were issued over the 3-month study period to 3662 unique patients. Transfusion recipients were 58% female and median age was 27 years (interquartile range [IQR], 14-41). Median pretransfusion hemoglobin was 5.6 g/dL (IQR, 4.0-7.2 g/dL, n = 1090). Strikingly, cancer was the top indication for transfusion (33.5%), followed by pregnancy-related complications (12.4%) and sickle cell disease (6.9%). CONCLUSION This study provides a comprehensive picture of blood use at a national referral hospital in sub-Saharan Africa. Noncommunicable diseases, particularly oncologic conditions, represent a large proportion of demand for transfusion services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1066
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015

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