BACKGROUND: The objectives of this analysis were 1) to compare the sociodemographic characteristics of donors and nondonors, 2) to describe the channels through which Dakar's population is made aware of blood donation, and 3) to analyze the motivations and barriers to blood donation expressed by donors and nondonors.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHOD: A survey of 600 individuals age 20 and older representative of Dakar's population was conducted in 2009 to analyze awareness of blood donation, donor characteristics, and barriers and motivations to blood donation.
RESULTS: A total of 94.7% of the respondents had already heard of giving blood and 25.8% had already donated. Men and individuals age 40 and over are overrepresented among donors (chi-square [1 ddl] = 19.54, p < 0.001; chi-square [3 ddl] = 14.24, p < 0.01). Those with higher education were also more likely to be donors (chi-square [4 ddl] = 38.91, p < 0.001). Main motivations to blood donation are altruism (43%) and awareness of a blood shortage (20.33%). Never having been contacted to give blood is the number one obstacle to blood donation (37.31%).
CONCLUSIONS: In Dakar, the vast majority of people are familiar with the practice of giving blood. The sociodemographic characteristics of blood donors, and the main motivations and barriers to blood donation are the same in Dakar as in other countries, but this study also demonstrates the importance to inform Dakarites that blood donation does not amount to a blood test, that donating is not harmful for one's health, and that the blood donated is quickly regenerated.