Noting that blood banks across the South-East Asian Region including India needed more blood, the World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday stressed the need for donating blood, saying it was one of the easiest ways to be there for someone else and to share life.
WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh also stressed the need to fortify blood and blood product systems to save lives.
“Blood banks across the WHO South-East Asia Region need more blood. Region-wide around 18 million units of blood are required annually. At present, an estimated 15.9 million are collected.
“That leaves a deficit of just over 2 million units and makes the act of donating blood uniquely powerful: put simply, it is one of the easiest ways to be there for someone else and to share life,” she said, on the eve of World Blood Donor Day, which is celebrated on June 14.
She said that well-coordinated blood and blood product systems could increase the act’s life-saving impact by ensuring that safe, high-quality blood products were available to all people at all times.
In recent years, Member States have made rapid strides towards that goal, with each of them now implementing national policies on blood transfusion and blood safety, including testing all blood for the potential of transfusion-transmitted infections, she said.
“That 82 per cent of the blood collected region-wide is from voluntary, non-remunerated donors is testament to the civic responsibility many people share, and the effectiveness of the blood and blood product systems that have been put in place,” she said.
She asserted that by carrying out a series of key initiatives – including boosting donations – each of the Region’s Member States can build on their substantial gains and enhance the implementation of the WHO’s global strategy for safe blood.
The WHO’s South-East Asia Region comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
Through supplementary planning, for example, blood products can be more efficiently processed and distributed, she said.
“That means ensuring centralised blood banks responsible for the collection, processing and distribution of blood, are clearly designated. It also means accurately mapping the volume of blood needed to cover specific catchment zones, including remote and hard-to-reach areas,” Singh said.
Haemovigilance – the set of surveillance procedures covering the entire blood transfusion chain – can likewise be better managed and regulated, she said.
“In particular, Member States should ensure haemovigilance measures are reported to the WHO Global Database on Blood Donor Safety, with a particular focus on ensuring both public and private facilities do the same,” she said.