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Volume 26

Winter 2009

Blood Safety and Donation

by Carolyn Mihalko 2008-09 ADRP President

The information on the World Health Organization (WHO) website is astounding to those of us in blood banking in developed countries. For instance, did you know that 80 percent of the world’s population reside in developing and transitional countries (a total of 73 countries)? Less than 45 percent of donating blood is collected in these countries. The average donation rate is three times higher in transitional countries than developing ones and 11 times higher in developed countries than in developing ones.

More than 81 million units of whole blood are collected annually, yet more than 1 million units were collected from paid blood donors in 2006. Yet as we all know volunteer blood donors have the lowest prevalence of HIV viruses and other blood-borne infections. Between 5 and 10 percent of HIV infections worldwide are transmitted through contaminated blood.

The WHO recommends that all donated blood be tested for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis. Yet many developing and transitional countries do not have reliable testing systems due to staff shortages, lack of basic laboratory services, poor quality test kits or irregular supplies. What is also lacking in too many countries is an organized blood transfusion service that educates and motivates voluntary blood donors from low-risk populations.

Sufficient supplies of safe blood are only assured by regular donations from volunteer donors. Yet data collected by the World Health Organization in 2006 tells that developing and transitional countries still depend greatly on family/replacement donors and paid donors which are relatively unsafe. The WHO advocates the following for blood safety: establishing national blood transfusion services with quality systems, collecting only from volunteer blood donors from low-risk populations, screening of blood for transfusion- transmissible infections, and reducing unnecessary transfusions.

In developed countries transfusion is common for invasive medical procedures, surgeries, open heart and organ transplants. However, transfusion in developing countries is utilized more often for pregnancy related complications and severe childhood anemia. Another shocking fact is that 529,000 women die annually during pregnancy or childbirth – 99 percent of whom live in developing countries. Hemorrhage leading to blood loss is the main cause. Blood demand is high and shortages are common. In developing and

transitional countries many patients die Continued on page 3


To provide education, development and resources for the donor recruitment professional.

Inside this Issue:

Global Blood Fund Pages 4-5

CAMPAA - Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge Page 8-9

World Blood Donor Day Page 12-13

Weathering a Major Blood Shortfall Page 14-16

Hosting A Successful Summer Blood Drive Page 17

Dragon*Con Blood Drive Hits Mark Page 20-21

Is the Economic Downturn Impacting Your Blood Center? Page 25-27

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