Volume : 4
Issue : 4
Online ISSN : 2394-6792
Print ISSN : 2394-6784
Article First Page : 523
Article End Page : 528
Introduction: Advances in healthcare require adequate quantities of safe blood, which can be obtained by regular voluntary blood donation. The college-going students constitute a healthy pool of potential donors. This study was conducted to explore the knowledge, attitudes and practices of blood donation in undergraduate medical students, so that the existing lacunae in the system may be identified and remedied.
Materials and Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 388 undergraduate medical students, using a structured questionnaire which contained both close and open-ended questions on attitudes and practices. Knowledge was assessed by interview by a single observer.
Results: Only 18.04% students had donated blood. Gender was found to be insignificant and socio-economic status (p=0.00004) and knowledge about donation (p<0.00001) were found to have a highly significant effect on blood donation. Voluntary donors donating for altruism constituted 82.9%. Commonest reasons for non-donation included deferrals (40.3%), apathy (35.8%) and fear (17.9%). Deferrals were due to anaemia (37.4%) and inadequate weight (2.8%), almost exclusively in females. Misconceptions related to pain (6.3%), increased rate of infections (6.0%), decreased immunity (0.6%) and syncope (0.6%) were prevalent. Non-donors felt that blood donations were risky (p=0.0261) and perceived a higher degree of risk than donors (p=0.0018). Only 0.6% of the donors were regular donors while 74.3% of donors had donated only once. Blood donation camps were the most important source of knowledge and motivation (34.3%) and all voluntary donors had donated therein. The donation experience was considered good by 58.6% students. To promote donation, non-donors advocated provision of incentives (p=0.00016), which included free replacement of blood for family or friends (35.6%) and free blood tests (29.4%).
Conclusions: It is essential to create awareness among medical students and organize blood donation camps to increased recruitment and retention of voluntary donors. This will help attain the goal of 100% voluntary, non-remunerated blood donation laid down by the WHO.
Keywords: Blood donation, Medical Students, Undergraduate