Clinical research participants often express concerns about blood draw because of misconceptions about the uses to which the blood will be put. Their comments can generate rumours in their communities, thereby affecting rates of recruitment to research studies and increasing losses to follow-up. This study sought to identify community perceptions about blood draw for clinical research.

Between September 2010 and March 2011, 12 focus group discussions and eight in-depth interviews were conducted among community members in the Kintampo district of Ghana, to determine what cultural beliefs and traditional practices might affect attitudes to blood draw. Most of the study participants did not mention any cultural beliefs prohibiting blood draw but were of the opinion that collecting blood from children and pregnant women could lead to serious health consequences. They could not understand why blood would be taken from participants who were not sick. Some were of the opinion that blood samples could be used for rituals and others recounted unpleasant experiences following blood draws. To facilitate clinical research that entails blood draw, it is important to address concerns and rumours through intensive community sensitisation.

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