Blood transfusion is an essential part of modern health care. Used correctly, it can save life and improve health. However, the transmission of infectious agents by blood and blood products has focused particular attention on the potential risks of transfusion.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the following integrated strategy to promote global blood safety and minimize the risks associated with transfusion.
1 The establishment of nationally coordinated blood transfusion services with quality systems in all areas.
2 The collection of blood only from voluntary non-remunerated donors from low-risk populations.
3 The screening of all donated blood for transfusion-transmissible infections, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis viruses, syphilis and other infectious agents, and good laboratory practice in all aspects of blood grouping, compatibility testing, component preparation and the storage and transportation of blood and blood products.
4 A reduction in unnecessary transfusions through the appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products, and the use of simple alternatives to transfusion, wherever possible.