Background: Avoidable human error is a significant cause of transfusion adverse events. Adequately trained, laboratory staff in blood establishments and blood banks, collectively blood facilities, are key in ensuring high-quality transfusion medicine (TM) services. Gaps in TM education and training of laboratory staff exist in most African countries. We assessed the status of the training and education of laboratory staff working in blood facilities in Africa. Study Design and Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered pilot-tested questionnaire was performed. The questionnaire comprised 26 questions targeting six themes. Blood facilities from 16 countries were invited to participate. Individually completed questionnaires were grouped by country and descriptive analysis performed. Results: Ten blood establishments and two blood banks from eight African countries confirmed the availability of a host of training programs for laboratory staff; the majority of which were syllabus or curriculum-guided and focused on both theoretical and practical laboratory skills development. Training was usually preplanned, dependent on student and trainer availability and delivered through lecture-based classroom training as well as formal and informal on the job training. There were minimal online didactic and self-directed learning. Teaching of humanistic values appeared to be lacking. Conclusion: We confirmed the availability of diverse training programs across a variety of African countries. Incorporation of virtual learning platforms, rather than complete reliance on didactic, in-person training programs may improve the education reach of the existing programs. Digitalization driven by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic may provide an opportunity to narrow the knowledge gap in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
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