In spite of the many programs and interventions undertaken by the various national blood transfusion services, blood transfusion service centres continues to be unsuccessful in their efforts to maintain required stock levels of blood. A lot of potential donors are deferred for reasons which are sometimes temporal (e.g. low Hb level) and majority of these donors do not return to the centre again. This study established that the deferral rate among blood donors was significantly high (42.6 %) of which low hemoglobin levels by CuSO4 formed 21.2 %. This rate varies from the findings of a study in India which had total deferral rate of 11.5 % of which 15.5 % was due to anemia which incidentally compares well with the 17.1 % obtained in our study [14, 15].
Our study discovered four types of anemia based on the red cell indices and blood morphology. These were normocytic normochromic, normocytic hypochromic, microcytic normochromic and microcytic hypochromic anemia. The types of anemia with the highest frequency were normocytic normochromic anemia (46.7 %) and microcytic hypochromic anemia (42.4 %). The findings also showed that the prevalence of anemia was significantly higher in female donors than males. Again, 83.7 % out of the 92 diagnosed with anemia presented with mild anemia against 16.3 % with moderate anemia . This means that most of them can have their blood levels improved in a short period of time with proper advice and medication making it possible to return at a later date to donate .
Furthermore, statistical analysis (Table 2) showed no relationship between gender and type of anemia (p > 0.05), neither was there a relationship between the age and type of anemia (p > 0.05). Also, there was no relationship between the ages of the respondents and the severity of anemia (p > 0.05) and between the gender of the respondents and the severity of anemia (p > 0.05). The lack of relationship between these parameters could be as a result of the fact that the respondents were apparently healthy individuals who had passed the same criteria for selection for donation as healthy individuals prior to blood level estimation. The results of the study however, showed significant relationship between the severity of anemia and the type of anemia (p < 0.05).
The findings from our study would help blood collection centres to plan a future strategy for donor recruitment and management by using the standard method to test potential donors who fail the copper sulphate procedure of Hb estimation. This way, people who would be found truly anemic can be assisted to improve their condition with informed advice and medication so they can return to donate. Again, those found to be falsely low can then go ahead and donate. In general, it will help blood collection centres to develop and implement strategies and tactics to manage blood donors well and to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and services as far as donor safety is concern. Subsequently they will be able to support the delivery, sustainment and growth of donor recruitment and retention [18, 19].
Furthermore, the outcome will also assist in formulating a policy guidance on providing blood donor counselling as an essential component of quality donor service and care and as a requirement for a safe blood supply. The counselling of blood donors is an important means of promoting healthy lifestyles and makes an important contribution to individual and community health . In addition, counselling contributes to the early diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as anemia, blood disorders and infections which will offer a crucial early entry point for the treatment and care of donors found to be unfit [21, 22]. Counselling may also reduce adverse donor reactions, improve donor perceptions of the blood transfusion services and, most importantly, increase the likelihood of them returning for future donation . This way, donor deferrals or lost particularly due to anemia may be reduced.