Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Developing Countries Face Safe Blood Shortage

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Developing Countries Face Safe Blood Shortage

Article excerpt

Stricter quality checks for blood transfusions and more blood donors are needed in developing countries, said experts from WHO on World Blood Donor Day on 14 June. Whilst celebrations took place in many cities around the world to mark the contributions made by voluntary blood donors everywhere, the overwhelming majority of the world's population--82%--does not have access to safe blood. Most of these live in regions with the heaviest burdens of disease where an adequate, safe supply of blood is in constant need.

"A sufficient, safe blood supply is a key part of an effective health care system and essential for disease prevention," said WHO Director-General, Dr LEE Jong-wook. "In our work to increase access to treatment for people living with AIDS around the world, safe blood is a crucial part of our prevention and care strategy."

Many developing countries still rely on blood from Family replacement or paid donors and in these countries, the seroprevalence in donors for transfusion-transmissible infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis, is much higher than in countries with voluntary, unpaid donation.

An adequate supply of safe blood requires a pool of healthy, regular, voluntary donors who give blood without financial or other reward. According to WHO, research has shown that donors who give blood voluntarily are the safest donors. However, a recent WHO survey shows that only 39 of 178 countries have 100% voluntary, unpaid blood donation. The survey also showed that 20 countries in the world do not have 100% screening for HIV and 24 do not have 100% screening for hepatitis B, 37 for hepatitis C and 24 for syphilis. …

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