Author(s): Hessah Alsulami

In Saudi Arabia, blood donation system depends mainly on non-voluntary donors or what is called, replacement policy where the patient's family or friends donate blood to replace their patient require ment. Such a policy puts effort on patient's family to find blood donors. Moreover, the safety of the blood is jeopardized, because such donors might hide some information in order to donate. On the other hand, implementing voluntary blood donors system would lead to markedly decrease in the blood supply because of many reasons such as the infrastructure for the blood transfusion service which is a hospital based blood banking system and the awareness of Saudi people for blood donation. The aim of this study is to assess the level of awareness for blood donation among Saudis. Method: A questionnaire based cross-sectional study was carried out in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi, in the period from February to June 2014. The questionnaire was prepared after a review of published reports that assesses the awareness toward blood donation in different countries and was distributed equally in the four main districts of Riyadh (north, south, east, and west) attracting Saudi people in shopping malls, mosques, and other public places. Result: Of 475 participants 67% didn't know the benefits of blood donation, 59% didn't know the location of the blood donation center in their area, 49.7% underestimated the length of blood donation process, 64.6 %, didn't have any idea about the need for blood in their area or the city, 91.2% didn't know the date for World blood donor day, and 74% believed that the blood should be free for patients who need it and patients shouldn't be asked to replace the blood they got. Conclusion: The study shows that Saudi population are not enough aware about the blood donation system as well as the need for blood in the country. This might be the cause for decreased number of voluntary blood donors. This study also highlights the need for using public media to increase the level of awareness which we miss in Saudi.