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Association between malaria control and paediatric blood transfusions in rural Zambia: an interrupted time-series analysis
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Details:
  • Funding:
    5U19AI089680/AI/NIAID NIH HHS/United States
    5U2GPS001930/PHS HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Background

    Blood transfusions can reduce mortality among children with severe malarial anaemia, but there is limited evidence quantifying the relationship between paediatric malaria and blood transfusions. This study explores the extent to which the use of paediatric blood transfusions is affected by the number of paediatric malaria visits and admissions. It assesses whether the scale-up of malaria control interventions in a facility catchment 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 used from facility and patient records covering all paediatric malaria admissions from 2000 to 2008. An interrupted time series analysis using an autoregression-moving-average model was conducted to assess the relationship between paediatric malaria outpatient visits and admissions and the use of paediatric blood transfusions. Further investigation explored whether the use of paediatric blood transfusions over time was consistent with the roll out of malaria control interventions in the hospital catchment area.

    Results

    For each additional paediatric malaria outpatient visit, there were 0.07 additional paediatric blood transfusions (95% CI 0.01-0.13; p < 0.05). For each additional paediatric admission for severe malarial anaemia, there were 1.09 additional paediatric blood transfusions (95% CI 0.95-1.23; p < 0.01). There were 19.1 fewer paediatric blood transfusions per month during the 2004–2006 malaria control period (95% CI 12.1-26.0; p < 0.01), a 50% reduction compared to the preceding period when malaria control was relatively limited. During the 2007–2008 malaria control 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 blood transfusions. The reduction in paediatric blood transfusions is consistent with the timing of the malaria control interventions. Malaria control seems to influence the use of paediatric blood transfusions by reducing the number of paediatric admissions for severe malarial anaemia. Reduced use of blood transfusions could benefit other areas of the health system through greater blood availability, particularly where supply is limited.