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Background: The complications associated with blood transfusion can be reduced by carefully preventing the conditions necessitating transfusion
especially the common ones. Studies are therefore needed to identify these indications but the available ones in Nigeria are from tertiary hospitals. This study therefore aimed to determine the common indications for blood transfusion among children attending secondary health facilities in South-East Nigeria. It also assessed the socio-demographic factors which influenced bloodtransfusion.
Methods: Children aged >1month to 18years admitted into the paediatric wards of three secondary care hospitals with indications for blood transfusion were recruited. Questionnaires for documentation of admitting and final diagnoses as well as socio-demographic profiles were administered. Socioeconomic status of each child was calculated using occupational and educational attainment of each parent. Pre- and post- transfusion haemoglobin were determined via the use of an autoanalyser.
Results: Majority (61.9%) of the children transfused were in 1 - <5 year age group. The commonest indications for blood transfusion were Severe Malaria (60%), Sepsis(15.2%) and Bronchopneumonia (5.7%). Age of the children had a significant negative linear relationship (r = -0.783. p = 0.000) while socio-economic status had a significant association (X2 = 49.77, p = 0.000) with number of children transfused. However, no relationship
existed between gender and number transfused (X2 = 0.086, p =0.770).
Conclusion: Severe Malaria is the commonest indication for transfusion in children attending secondary health facilities in South East, Nigeria. Most of the children transfused are the under-5s from the low socio-economic class.
Key words: Transfusion,Children, Indications, Secondary facilities