Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion

Millions of lives are saved each year through blood transfusions. In many countries, however, people still die due to an inadequate supply of blood and blood products.

This has a particular impact on women
(as a consequence of pregnancy-related complications), children (malnutrition, malaria and severe life-threatening anaemia), trauma victims and, especially, the poor and disadvantaged.

The emergence of HIV in the 1980s highlighted the importance of ensuring the safety, as well as the adequacy, of national blood supplies. In many countries, even where blood is available, many recipients remain at risk of transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) as a result of poor blood donor recruitment and selection practices and the use of untested units of blood.

Every country has a common need to ensure:

  • Availability of adequate supplies of blood and blood products and their accessibility to all patients requiring transfusion;
  • Safety of blood and blood products;
  • Safe and appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products.

The WHO Blood Transfusion Safety (BTS) team supports the establishment of sustainable of national blood programmes that can ensure the provision of safe, high quality blood and blood products that are accessible to all patients requiring transfusion and their safe and appropriate use. In support of this mission, the WHO BTS team recommends the following integrated strategy to national health authorities.

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