Awareness About Banking

Introduction

Umbilical Code Blood (UCB) banking is an important aspect in the arena of health and well-being because the stem cells contained in cord blood can be used to treat various diseases such as thalassemia and hematological cancer (Alkindi & Denninson, 2011). Besides, according to American Pregnancy Association (2013), the concept of UCB is important because practitioners are more likely to find it easier to find a tissue match, besides the fact that it is less likely to encounter patient rejection as experienced in traditional bone marrow transplants.

Nonetheless, also termed as placental blood, cord blood exists in the umbilical code of new born babies. Ideally, umbilical cords are usually cut and discarded because they may no longer be useful to the child. However, according to Baby Center.ca (2012), the cord contains blood that has similar blood contents as other body parts. However, one unique characteristics of cord blood is that it contains more abundant hematopoietic cells. Ballen (2010) points out those hematopoietic cells are primitive or immature cells that have a potentiality of forming red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. In fact, when such cells are subjected to some scientific processes, they can be transformed into some other cell types that are part of the human body.

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One significant aspect of hematopoietic cells is that through a natural process called hematopoiesis, the cells can be used to generate healthy cells. Yet, after birth, hematopoiesis only occurs in the red bone marrow (Ben-Joseph, 2012). Having said so, it is also important to note that both cord blood and bone marrow are useful in transplantation procedures despite the fact that they have the following differences: First, the process of isolating bone marrow is convoluted and painful because blood samples must be collected and tested to ensure the donor’s blood matches with the patient’s blood.

But, through UCB banking, physicians are able to bypass this painful procedure because UCB only requires the use of stored cord. Besides, a banked blood cord is readily usable because there needs to be no sampling to ensure that the blood matches with the recipient’s blood (Bill, 2013) Nonetheless, whereas the number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) originating from the bone marrow is greater than those available in cord blood, blood from the cord is more proliferative, has more capacity to form colony, and is more responsive to various growth factors within the human body.

Besides, according to Blood Works North West (2013), HSC transplantation from bone marrow is associated with more complications than transplantation of the same cells from cord blood – specifically because cord blood has more naïve cells compared to the proliferative cells in bone marrow (Cellss4life.co.uk, 2013).

Nonetheless, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, there is still a paucity of awareness of the subject of UCB among most populations, and therefore the current study seeks to evaluate several items regarding UCB such as the level of information people have about it, the willingness of people to engage in CBB and the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs people are holding about UCB.

Statement of the Problem

Despite the important nature of cord blood banking concept, the researcher feels that there is still a paucity of its awareness among the Saudi Arabian public. Besides, the researcher deems that no substantive effort has been made to create this awareness; a phenomenon that is evident in the low number of cord blood banks in Saudi Arabia (Cameron, 2012). Besides, the nature of religious influence in Saudi Arabia, and the conservative nature of Saudi Arabian culture make it a non-suitable environment for developing awareness of or establishing cord blood banks within the Kingdom (Cameron et al, 2013). Moreover, Saudi’ religious beliefs have a significant influence on childbirth; and on the women’s decision to bank their umbilical codes. Apart from religious influence, the process of banking cord blood requires significant amounts of financial resources, and therefore their financial income levels may also play a role in the decision to bank their cords. Hence, to solve these problems, the main aim of the present study is to determine the level of awareness about banking UCB among Saudi Arabia’s population.

Significance of the Study

This study is particularly important in developing knowledge that would be useful in promoting the awareness of UCB among Saudi Arabia’s population. The useful nature of UCB and its advantage over the use of born marrow transplant makes this study a source of evidence-based knowledge in the practice of blood transplant.

Literature Review

There are several literary materials that have attempted to evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and perception of different populations towards UCB banking. But, these studies exude various limitations that affect the validity of their outcomes, limitations that the present study seeks to address. For instance, Hamdar et al (2016) attempted to investigate the knowledge level and perception of UCB banking among the Lebanese population. The exploratory qualitative study used questionnaires to gather data regarding the perception and knowledge of Lebanese population regarding UBC banking.

Whereas the study identified some level of awareness among the participants, there are several methodological shortcomings that affect the validity of its outcomes. First, the study was qualitative in nature and therefore the researcher relied on subjective information, a phenomenon that might have subjected the findings to some level of bias. Besides, the study used a convenient sampling method, which subjected the researcher to the possibility of being biased because responses may have only represented the views of the conveniently sampled population; and not the entire population. Since the convenient sampling method is in itself biased, the entire study may have inherent inaccuracies and biases. Therefore, the present study intends to use a more elaborate sampling methodology to evade the shortcomings of the study by Hamdar et al (2016).

Another study, Malker et al (2012) measured the level of awareness, and acceptance of public UBC banking among obstetricians in the United States. The random survey qualitative study used cross-tabulation data analysis to conclude that there is a general familiarity and awareness of UBC banking among obstetricians in the US, even though there is a need for more awareness regarding the use of cord blood in transplantation. Whereas this study does not relate directly to the present study, its findings that obstetricians can play an important role in creating awareness among women regarding UBC banking makes it an important source of data for the current study. It is possible to extrapolate that in the event the present study finds little awareness among Saudi Arabian population regarding UBC banking, obstetricians can be encouraged to actively participate in creating such awareness.

In a more recent study, Jawdat et al (2018) set out to investigate the awareness of UBC banking awareness among Saudi Arabian population. The qualitative study collected data from a total of 1146 participants through self-administered questionnaires and found that there was a high lack of awareness about UCB banking among Saudi Arabian population. In fact, more than half of the study sample revealed a non-awareness of UCB banking and its usefulness. Despite Malker et al’s conclusion that obstetricians can be a source of good knowledge regarding UCB banking, Jadwat et al (2018) found that in Saudi Arabia, health professionals do not provide any awareness to the public regarding UCB banking. Hence, despite several methodological limitations such as a smaller sample that affects the generalizability of the study findings, this study occurs as a stepping stone for the present study in the attempt to identify the level of awareness of UCB banking among the Kingdom’s population.

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References

  • Alkindi, S.,&Dennison, D.(2011). Umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation. Sultan Qabous Medical Journal, 11(4),455-461.
  • American Pregnancy Association.(2013). Promoting Pregnancy Wellness: Cord Blood Banking. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  • Baby Center.ca.(2012). Banking your baby’s cord blood: An overview. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  • Ballen, K.(2010).Challenges in umbilical cord blood stem cell banking for stem cell reviewers and reports. Stem Cell Rev, 6,8-14.
  • Ben-Joseph, E. (2012). Cord-Blood Banking. Retrieved 28th Feb, 2019, from
  • Bill, C. W. (2013). Young cell transplantation program. National Marrow Donor Program: Be The Match. Retrieved 28th Feb, 2019, from
  • Blood Works Northwest.(2013). Cord Blood Program. Retrieved 28th Feb, 2019, from
  • Cells4life.co.uk.(2013). Pioneering heart surgery savers man’s life-case study. Retrieved 28th Feb, 2019, from
  • Cells4life.co.uk.(2013). Stem cell eye treatment gives sight back-case study. Retrieved 28th Feb, 2019, from
  • Hamdar B. & Abla (2016) Knowledge and Perception of Cord Blood Bank among Lebanese Population, World Journal of Social Science Research ISSN 2375-9747 (Print) ISSN 2332-5534 (Online) Vol. 3, No. 3, 2016.
  • Jawdat et al (2018) Public Awareness on Cord Blood Banking in Saudi Arabia, Hindawi Stem Cells International Volume 2018, Article ID 8037965, 5 pages. Walker et al (2012) Awareness and acceptance of public cord blood banking among practicing obstetricians in the United States, TRANSFUSION Volume 52, April 2012.

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