Interview with the Author: Understanding the motivators & barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Interview with the Author: Understanding the motivators & barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Interview with the Author: Understanding the motivators & barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa

488 500 Kat Evans

Series: “Interview with the Author…”

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The badEM crew interviewed Tanja Z. Zanin regarding her newly released article in AfJEM Volume 6 Issue 2 entitled: “Tapping into a vital resource: Understanding the motivators and barriers to blood donation in Sub-Saharan Africa” Original Research by Tanja Z. Zanin, Denise P. Hersey, David C. Cone, Pooja Agrawal

Link to open access article: Click here:

Corresponding Author: tanja.zanin@yale.edu

 Zanin (image)

Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in this research?

I started this research during my last year of residency when I spent an elective working at the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia. Given the high volume of patients with acute anemia from hemorrhage or severe illness, it did not take long to notice the profound lack of blood available for emergency transfusions. After speaking to my friends and co-workers, I noticed reluctance among healthy individuals to donate blood on a regular basis. This is when I became interested in investigating the determinants to donor behavior in this region of the world. I believe that understanding the factors that motivate and deter individuals from giving their blood a key step to structuring successful campaigns whose goal is to recruit more blood donors.

What were the key findings from this study?

The key findings are the deterrents to blood donation. An individual’s reluctance to donate blood is closely tied to previous experiences and cultural beliefs. Given the shortage of voluntary donors in this region, one key conclusion is that the deterrents to blood donation may be more powerful than motivators in determining an individual’s propensity to donate blood. This has important implications for developing strategies for blood donation campaigns in this region.

What do these findings mean within the African context?

Sub-Saharan Africa is in dire need for stronger blood transfusion capabilities. Currently, the majority of blood donation campaigns encourage individuals to become donors by evoking motivators to blood donation. Our research shows that the deterrents to blood donation may be the ultimate drivers of blood donor behavior and may finally determine an individual’s decision to become a donor. As such, strategies aimed at increasing the number of blood donors in this region should consider building their campaigns around specifically addressing some of the fears and misconceptions in regards to blood transfusion practices.

Check out the full-text open access article:  Click here

More about AfJEM (excerpt from their newsletter)

AFEMAfJEM is an open access publication in the spirit of bringing #FOAMed to Africa. This is an important consideration, especially in a low to middle income setting where prospective readers, that may benefit from published information, will most likely not be able to access subscription based journal content.  The AfJEM has no front end (author) or back end (reader) fees, and on top of that it offers a free Author Assist service that has been shown to reverse one in every four reject decisions (of manuscripts that fall within the journal’s scope) over the last five years.


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For more information, to donate or to apply visit the: Sponsorship application page

Kat Evans

Emergency Medicine Physician in Cape Town, South Africa. Looking for solutions to our unique EM challenges with a quadruple burden of disease.

All stories by:Kat Evans

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Kat Evans

Emergency Medicine Physician in Cape Town, South Africa. Looking for solutions to our unique EM challenges with a quadruple burden of disease.

All stories by:Kat Evans