Pre-Blood-Donation Screening of Volunteer Prisoners for Hepatitis B and C in Prisons of the Punjab, Pakistan
Objectives: To identify the potential benefits of pre-donation screening of blood.
Study design: Retrospective.
Place and Duration: Prisons in the Punjab province. From January 2011 t0 September 2013.
Background: Prisoners, as a high risk group, are not recommended for blood donations. In Pakistan, however, prisoners are legally allowed to donate blood and get thirty days remission.
Methodology: Volunteer prisoners, after examination and verification by a physician for their physical fitness, were tested for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) by Rapid Test Kit before bleeding. Data was analyzed by Epi-Info.
Results: A total of 5894 male volunteer prisoner donors were screened and 1038 (17.6%) were rejected because of hepatitis infection. The mean age was 28 years (range; 17 - 70 years). Of 5894 prisoners, 857 (14.5%) were HCV positive and 222 (3.8%) were HBV positive. Co-infection of HCV and HBV was present among 41 (0.7%). Hepatitis infection, among convicted- prisoner blood donor, is significantly associated with higher seroprevalence for HCV (OR 1.35, 95% C.I. 1.17-1.57) while under-trial- prisoner is significantly associated with higher seroprevalence for HBV (OR 1.40, 95% C.I. 1.06-1.85).
Conclusion: Hepatitis B and C viruses were responsible for almost 18% prisoner blood donor rejection. Pre-donation screening of blood donors is an effective intervention to improve the safety and limit the cost of blood. Treatment of identified infected prisoners may contribute to public health. In the international scenario this study findings necessitate the amendments in the relevant prison rules.