PHILADELPHIA—The demand for blood transfusions increases substantially during high malaria transmission season, according to a study of hospitals in Tanzania.
On average, blood demand increased about 24% from low transmission season to high transmission season.
And some hospitals could not meet the increased demand. Unmet demand was highest in government hospitals, followed by faith-based institutions and private facilities.
Bakary Drammeh, DrPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and his colleagues presented these results in a poster (SP356) at the AABB Annual Meeting 2014.
The researchers analyzed 14,706 blood prescriptions at 42 Tanzanian hospitals—21 government, 9 private, and 12 faith-based institutions.
The team assessed the number of blood prescriptions according to high and low malaria transmission periods—June-July vs August-September.
On average, there were 130 monthly blood prescriptions written per 100 beds during high malaria transmission season and 107 written during low transmission season.
There were 189 and 153 units of blood or blood components requested per 100 beds during high and low seasons, respectively. And there were 159 and 127 units issued, respectively.
Ultimately, an average of 145 units were transfused per 100 beds during high malaria transmission season, and 122 were transfused during low transmission season.
Across all 42 hospitals, total blood prescriptions increased 29% from low malaria transmission season to high transmission season.
The number of units requested increased 26%, the number of units issued increased 34%, and the number of units transfused increased 28%.
So, on average, blood demand increased 23.5% at these 42 hospitals during high malaria transmission season. And some hospitals did not have enough blood to meet demand.
The unmet blood demand was highest in government hospitals, at 25%, compared to faith-based hospitals, at 11%, and private hospitals, at 5%.
The researchers said these results suggest blood services should monitor malaria transmission surveillance reports and revise or project blood collection targets to meet the anticipated demand.