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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

Serological findings amongst first-time blood donors in Yaounde,
Cameroon: is safe Alternative Treatments a reality or a myth?
       TRANSFUSION MEDICINE. OCT 2003; 13 (5) : 267-273
       Mbanya, DN; Takam D; Ndumbe PM

       Blood safety remains an issue of major concern in transfusion
medicine in developing countries where national blood transfusion services
and policies, appropriate infrastructure, trained personnel and financial
resources are lacking. This is aggravated by the predominance of family and
replacement, rather than regular benevolent, nonremunerated donors.
       Thus, in order to identify and encourage healthy, regular and
benevolent nonremunerated donors, consenting first-time blood donors in the
Yaounde University Teaching Hospital were screened for human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBSAg),
hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus), human T-cell lymphotropic virus-I (HTLV-I) and syphilis using standard methods.


       Of 252 first-time donors recruited, 66 (26.2%) were positive for at
least one of the infections screened. There were 7.9% positive for HIV,
10.7% for HBSAg, 4.8% for Hepatitis C Virus and 9.1 and 1.6%, respectively, for syphilis
and HTLV-I. About 30% of the 66 infected persons had co-infections.
HIV-positive donors had a significantly increased risk of being positive
for antibodies to syphilis (OR = 7.27; 95% CI = 2.23-23.51; P = 0.0007),
not observed for HBV, Hepatitis C Virus and HTLV-I.

       These results suggest that blood transfusion is still very unsafe in
this community and that it is imperative that emphasis be laid on donor
education. Furthermore, donors with a history of sexually transmitted
infections should be totally excluded from all donations.