Blood donors' awareness and attitudes towards blood transfusion safety in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia

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Blood transfusion safety is a complex process that includes a range of activities from recruitment and selection of blood donors to monitoring the reactions of patients during and after transfusion treatment (Nel, 2008).
Despite the implementation of numerous preventive activities, transfusion‐transmitted infections (TTI) still pose a risk that is associated with transfusion treatment. Appropriate donor selection and blood collection from voluntary repeat blood donors are very important ways to reduce TTI risk. Effective donor selection should be applied to identify those donors who should not donate blood either temporarily or permanently. This would prevent the collection of blood from donors who are at risk of TTI but who, at the time of blood donation, are without clinical and serological evidence of TTI (Watkins et al., 2012).
The active participation of blood donors in the selection process contributes to increasing the safety of blood transfusions and reduces potential risks for the recipients. Self‐deferral of the blood donor during the selection processes means that the donors themselves determine that their blood donation could be harmful to the recipient. The decision of the blood donors to self‐defer depends on their awareness and attitudes related to TTI and associated risk factors (Steele et al., 2012).
In Serbia, blood donation is based on voluntary, non‐remunerated donation according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Council of Europe. The screening of blood donors in this country includes the use of a questionnaire for each donor to identify possible forms of risk behaviour, an interview with a physician and a short physical health examination. Each blood donor answers questions related to his or her knowledge and awareness of, and attitudes towards, TTI risk, as well as his/her socioeconomic status and education. In addition, all the collected blood units undergo laboratory testing for the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and syphilis.
In order to determine the awareness and attitudes related to blood transfusion safety among blood donors from the Autonomous Province (AP) Vojvodina, Republic of Serbia, we conducted a cross‐sectional survey.
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