Association between malaria control and paediatric blood transfusions in rural Zambia: An interrupted time-series analysis

Alison B. Comfort, Janneke H. Van Dijk, Sungano Mharakurwa, Kathryn Stillman, Benjamin Johns, Payal Hathi, Sonali Korde, Allen S. Craig, Nancy Nachbar, Yann Derriennic, Rose Gabert, Philip E. Thuma

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7 Scopus citations


Background: Blood transfusions can reduce mortality among children with severe malarial anaemia, but there i limited evidence quantifying the relationship between paediatric malaria and blood transfusions. This stud explores the extent to which the use of paediatric blood transfusions is affected by the number of paediatri malaria visits and admissions. It assesses whether the scale-up of malaria control interventions in a facility catchmen area explains the use of paediatric blood transfusions Methods: The study was conducted at a referral hospital for 13 rural health centres in rural Zambia. Data were use from facility and patient records covering all paediatric malaria admissions from 2000 to 2008. An interrupted tim series analysis using an autoregression-moving-Average model was conducted to assess the relationship betwee paediatric malaria outpatient visits and admissions and the use of paediatric blood transfusions. Further investigatio explored whether the use of paediatric blood transfusions over time was consistent with the roll out of malaria contro interventions in the hospital catchment area Results: For each additional paediatric malaria outpatient visit, there were 0.07 additional paediatric blood transfusion (95% CI 0.01-0.13; p < 0.05). For each additional paediatric admission for severe malarial anaemia, there were 1.0 additional paediatric blood transfusions (95% CI 0.95-1.23; p < 0.01). There were 19.1 fewer paediatric bloo transfusions per month during the 2004-2006 malaria control period (95% CI 12.1-26.0; p < 0.01), a 50% reductio compared to the preceding period when malaria control was relatively limited. During the 2007-2008 malaria contro period, there were 27.5 fewer paediatric blood transfusions per month (95% CI 14.6-40.3; p < 0.01), representing a 72 decline compared to the period with limited malaria control Conclusions: Paediatric admissions for severe malarial anaemia largely explain total use of paediatric bloo transfusions. The reduction in paediatric blood transfusions is consistent with the timing of the malaria contro interventions. Malaria control seems to influence the use of paediatric blood transfusions by reducing the number o paediatric admissions for severe malarial anaemia. Reduced use of blood transfusions could benefit other areas of th health system through greater blood availability, particularly where supply is limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number383
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Blood transfusion
  • Malaria control
  • Paediatric hospital admissions
  • Severe malarial anaemia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Time series
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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