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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
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Future doctor's perspective of saving lives through blood donation: A cross-sectional study to assess knowledge, attitude, and blood donation practice among 2nd year medical undergraduate students


 Department of Pathology, KAHER's J.N Medical College, Nehru Nagar, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission29-Jun-2022
Date of Decision15-Sep-2022
Date of Acceptance10-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication19-Jan-2023

Correspondence Address:
Manasi A Gosavi,
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, KAHER's J.N Medical College, Nehru Nagar, Belagavi - 590 010, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_104_22

  Abstract 


Background: The requirement of blood and its components has always been on a rise, and meeting this growing demand can only be assured through the development of newer encouragement strategies for the recruitment and retention of more healthy voluntary young donors. Medical undergraduate students with an appropriate knowledge and a positive attitude can form an important part of this pool as well as help encourage others for the same. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was provided to all 2nd year MBBS students who were posted to the Department of Pathology, KAHER's J. N. Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka, and willing to be a part of this study. Responses of the questionnaire were recorded and quantitative evaluation of the data was done using software Epi Info™ 7.2.2.6. Results: A total of 280 undergraduate MBBS students participated in the study. Knowledge: 88.2% and 86.1% of the students knew the correct donor selection criteria for minimum age and hemoglobin level, respectively. Practice: Only 21.1% of the students had donated blood before. Attitude: 96.1% favored voluntary donation. 95% were willing to donate blood in the future with 82.5% willing to encourage others to do the same. Conclusion: Medical students have a good knowledge and positive attitude toward blood donation, but the practice of the same was very poor. Hence, there is a need to educate and approach these students to create an awareness regarding the importance of blood donation as well as involve them in voluntary blood donation.

Keywords: Attitude, blood donor, knowledge, medical students, practice



How to cite this URL:
Ratnakar AV, Gosavi MA, Bhat PP, Chavan RY. Future doctor's perspective of saving lives through blood donation: A cross-sectional study to assess knowledge, attitude, and blood donation practice among 2nd year medical undergraduate students. J Mar Med Soc [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2023 Feb 6]. Available from: https://www.marinemedicalsociety.in/preprintarticle.asp?id=368043




  Introduction Top


Blood banks are an integral part of our health-care system. Its smooth functioning depends on how efficiently they meet the never-ending and rising demand for blood and its components, which in turn needs the continuous process of creating awareness about blood donation as well as recruitment of voluntary, young blood donors.[1],[2] With the phasing out of replacement and paid donation, now, the WHO 2020 also has been focusing on 100% voluntary blood donation, which makes us realize that strengthening and widening the blood donor pool is the need of the hour.[3],[4]

In India, around 26.2 million units of blood are needed each year, of which only about one-third are obtained from voluntary donors.[5],[6],[7] Family donors or replacement donors are the ones who donate blood to their family, relatives, and friends only when there is a need. Such donors account for 45% blood donations in India approximately.[8],[9],[10] The WHO emphasizes that replacement blood donation should be discouraged and it should be replaced by unpaid (nonremunerated) and voluntary blood donation. Medical students if encouraged can form an important part of this pool of blood donors, as well as help and encourage others to do the same.[11],[12],[13]

Investigation of various aspects of human behavior can be done by knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) studies. By assessing what information people have (knowledge), how they perceive about it (attitude), and what they actually implement (practice), the experimenter can better understand people's perspective on behavior and suggest appropriate corrective actions.[14],[15] This study was undertaken to assess the KAP of blood donation among young undergraduate medical students to pave the way toward a better understanding of the scenario and ways to improve the same.


  Materials and Methods Top


The present study was conducted in the Department of Pathology, KAHER's JNMC, Belagavi, from May 2021 to January 2022 (8 months duration) after obtaining an ethical clearance (Ref no.: MDC/DOME/08 dated May 3, 18, JNMC Institutional Ethics committee on Human Subjects Research, JNMC, Belagavi). A questionnaire was prepared, and validation of the same was done by sharing with the faculty of the department, obtaining their feedback, and updating the relevant changes. The questionnaire comprised four Parts I, II, III, and IV [Table 1]. Part I consisted of 10 questions (7 multiple-choice type and 3 leading questions) regarding knowledge about the blood donation process, donor selection criteria, storage of blood, etc. Part II and IV each consisted of 5 leading questions with a selection of "Yes" as an answer suggesting positive response/attitude toward the blood donation. In Part III, 10 leading questions were asked each indicating a commonly quoted reason for noninvolvement in the process of blood donation. There was also a provision to cite any other reason for the same in the questionnaire.
Table 1: Project questionnaire - Part I, II, III and IV

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The questionnaire was provided to 2nd year MBBS undergraduate students posted to the department of pathology who were willing to be a part of the study. The nature and purpose of the study was explained to all the participants and their responses were collected. Quantitative evaluation of the data acquired was done using software Epi Info™ 7.2.2.6 2018 (Center for Disease ControlandPrevention (CDC), (Atlanta, Georgia, USA).


  Results Top


A total of 280 medical 2nd year undergraduate students were willing to participate in the study. Each student after filling written consent was subjected to the questionnaire prepared which assessed the students in four following categories: knowledge about blood donation, the practice of blood donation, reasons for not donating blood, and attitude toward blood donation practices.

Knowledge about blood donation

The students were assessed based on their knowledge regarding the practice of blood donation. Such questions were asked as would be required by the students for themselves to be aware when they begin practice as well as to answer questions/queries which laymen could put forth to them as students belonging to the medical community [Table 2].
Table 2: Students' knowledge about blood donation

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Practice of blood donation

This section dealt with the personal experiences and practices followed by the students as regards blood donation. 78.9% had never donated blood with reasons as mentioned in the subsequent section. Only 21.1% of the students had donated blood before this study, out of which 4.3% of students had donated blood only for family/friends in need. Only 11.1% of the students were registered as donors in blood banks/online communities related to blood donation. Although the practice of blood donation among medical students was very low, still surprisingly, 74.6% of these students had encouraged others to donate blood [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Practice of blood donation by medical students in the present study

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Reasons for not donating blood

This section dealt with the various issues which the students faced affecting their practice of donating blood. 37.5%, 33.6%, and 22.1% of students revealed the major reasons for not donating blood as being medically unfit to donate blood, not being approached/asked to donate, and fear developing weakness, respectively. Only 9.3% attributed nondonation to a lack of financial remuneration/incentives [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Reasons for nondonation of blood

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Attitude toward blood donation

The students were assessed regarding their attitudes toward the practice of blood donation [Figure 3]. The majority of the students had a positive attitude toward blood donation. A large number of the students (90.7%) agreed that blood donation is the duty of all individuals and 96.1% of students felt that all individuals should voluntarily donate blood. Ninety five percent of the students were willing to donate blood in the future and 82.5% also said that they were willing to encourage others to donate blood. The majority of the students (71.1%) felt that blood donation should be nonremunerated, while a minority (28.9%) still felt that blood donation should be remunerated.
Figure 3: Attitude of medical students toward blood donation

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  Discussion Top


There is no denial of the fact that the blood banks and hospitals have always been facing this task of an uphill climb to meet the rising demand for blood and its components. These huge demands can be met only by a continuous process of encouragement, enrollment, and retainment of young donors. It is the right time that the undergraduate medical students, our future caregivers, are made aware of the situation and at the same time are involved in the process too. Students can not only lead the path by donating blood themselves but can also play a crucial role to motivate others and thereby help bring about strengthening our blood donor pool.

In the present study, 88.2% of students knew the correct criteria for the minimum age of donor which correlated with findings in studies by Melku et al. (>97%) and Sharma et al. (89.9%).[16],[17] 79.6% of students knew the correct duration gap between subsequent donations which correlated with findings observed by Agravat et al. (80%).[18] Knowledge about the volume of blood drawn from a donor was low (52.9%) in the present study, which was also observed in studies by Sharma et al.(26.6%) and Asadi and Al-Asadi (38.7%).[17],[19] The majority of students (95%) knew that voluntary donation is the preferred type of donation, which correlated with the study by Agravat et al. (80%).[18] Knowledge of minimum weight criteria which was 64.6% in the present study was discordant to the findings in other studies like Melku et al. and Sharma et al., where it was as high as 84% and as low as 25.5%, respectively.[16],[17] The majority of the students had adequate knowledge about donor selection criteria. This higher percentage of knowledge about blood donation among medical students may be attributed to the fact that they are exposed to blood bank through theory classes that are conducted as well as their postings to blood bank/blood donation camps.

Medical students had a positive outlook on blood donation. The majority of students (>90%) agreed that blood donation should be the responsibility/duty of all individuals, young individuals should volunteer to donate blood, and they were all willing to donate in the future. >80% of students had even encouraged others to donate blood. Similar observations of positive attitude of medical students toward blood donation were seen in Melku et al.'s[16]study, where 91% agreed that blood donation is the responsibility of all individuals and 91% showed a willingness to donate in the future. In a study by Asadi and Al-Asadi,[19] 93.1% of medical students agreed that blood donation is a good habit and 90.7% stated that incentives need not be given for donors.

The practice of blood donation was very poor among the medical students in the present study, where only 15.4% of medical students had donated blood in the past. Similar observations of the poor practice of blood donation among medical students were made in studies by Sharma et al. (11.1%), Agravat et al. (24%), Asadi and Al-Asadi (13%), Desai and Satapara (21.3%), Anwer et al. (18%), and Chopra and Jauhari[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22] In a study conducted by Anwer et al.[20] comparing both medical and nonmedical students, it was observed that the proportion of blood donors were significantly low in both the groups and it was also a surprising revelation that only 18% of medical students as compared to 27% of nonmedical students had donated blood in the past. Agravat et al.,[18] in their study published in 2014, revealed that only 24% of medical students had donated blood in the past and among them, 13.3% were voluntary donors, and only 3% were regular donors.

In a similar study conducted by Ahmed., 92% of participants had appropriate knowledge regarding the various aspects of blood donation, 42% of students had a positive attitude about blood donation, and around 50% of students showed a willingness to donate blood.[23]

Although the medical students had good knowledge and a positive attitude toward blood donation, the practice of the same was very poor among them. Being medically unfit (37.5%), not approached/asked to donate (33.6%), and fear of acquiring infection (25.7%) were the most common agreed upon reasons for nondonation in the past. The above findings correlated with studies by Melku et al., Asadi and Al-Asadi, and Anwer et al.,[16],[19],[20] where the major causes listed were that they were not approached for donation and being medically unfit to donate. Lack of remuneration (9.3%), fear of revealing viral status (10%), and unawareness of the place to donate blood (11.4%) were listed among the least probable reasons for nondonation.[24],[25]

In the present study, it was evidently noted that the reasons for noninvolvement in the blood donation process by students were hurdles that we could easily overcome by conducting more awareness seminars/workshops/donation camps involving such young students. Students can also be involved to spread awareness programs to recruit more voluntary, young donors. The present study involved only MBBS II-year students posted in the department of pathology, so we would suggest more such projects to be undertaken using a large sample size involving medical students, interns, and even nonmedical students to assess as well as encourage young individuals to voluntarily involve in the process of blood donation.


  Conclusion Top


We conclude that the medical students have a good knowledge and positive attitude toward blood donation, but the practice of the same is very poor. Medical students need to be educated regarding the importance of blood donation and approached to create awareness as well as be involved in the process. Students can form an important part of the pool of healthy young donors who could be easily motivated and encouraged to help reach the goal of the WHO 2020, i.e., 100% voluntary blood donation ultimately resulting in strong and efficient working blood banks and health-care systems.

Acknowledgment

We would like to thank the Head of the institution for providing the necessary infrastructure to conduct the study. Special thanks to all the students who volunteered to participate in the study. Sincere thanks to all the faculty of Department of Pathology, J.N. Medical College, Belagavi. The authors are also grateful to authors/editors/publishers of all those articles, journals, and books from where the literature for this article has been reviewed and discussed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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