Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood donation and transfusion in Nigeria – A multi-facility study of 34 tertiary hospitals
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affectedblood donation activities. For countries like Nigeria that were already struggling with meeting blood needs, the possible impact on national blood supplies was terrifying. Mobile blood drive campaigns halted, and voluntary blood donations reduces, challenging available blood supplies. Furthermore, fears of the of virus transmission led to deferrals of elective surgeries and non-urgent clinical procedures with npoticeable declines in blood donations and transfusions. Aims: We aimed to assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of blood donations and transfusions across the country by blood product type across departments including accident and emergency, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, surgery and internal medicine. Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood services in thirty-four (34) tertiary hospitals in Nigeria, comparing January to July 2019 (pre-COVID-19) to January to July 2020 (peri-COVID-19). Data was collected from the country's web-based software District Health Information System, Version 2 (DHIS2), the platform for the National Health Management Information System (HMIS) and analysed using SPSS Version 25. Results: A 17.1% decline in numbers of blood donations was observed over the study period, especially in April 2020 (44.3%). Similarly, a 21.7% decline was observed in numbers of blood transfusions over the same period, with the month of April 2020 experiencing the sharpest declines (44.3%). The highest declines in transfusion were noted in surgery department for fresh frozen plasm (80.1%) p = 0.012 and accident and emergency department transfusion of platelets (78.3%) p = 0.005. The least decline of statistical significance was observed in internal medicine transfusions of whole blood (19.6%) p = 0.011. Summary/Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the numbers of blood donations and transfusions in Nigeria. STrengthening blood services to provide various blood components and secure safe blood supplies during public health emergencies is therefore critical.