A facility review at Enugu-Ukwu General Hospital in Anambra State revealed limited blood transfusion and no blood storage capabilities. Focus groups indicated fears and misconceptions in the population regarding risks of blood donation and transfusion. In 1994, a blood bank was established, including a refrigerator, backup generator, reagents and supplies. Refresher training was provided to the laboratory technologist. A public education campaign was launched one year later to encourage blood donation and dispel fears of transfusion. Voluntary blood donations in the hospital increased from zero units before the program to 15 in 1995. Transfusions increased from three in 1993 to 17 in 1995. Eight of the 17 were for obstetric cases. No donations or transfusions occurred until six months after the establishment of the blood bank. Problems encountered in obtaining the cooperation of hospital management may partly explain the delayed response. The cost of establishing the blood bank was US $8800: 51% material costs and 42% training. Improving the availability of blood at small hospitals need not be very expensive. Community education activities may increase blood donation, but sustained efforts are likely to be required. Ministry of Health (MOH) involvement is important to the success of interventions in government hospitals.
International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 12/1997; 59 Suppl 2:S135-9.