Blood Transfusion Safety in Africa: A Literature Review of Infectious Disease and Organizational Challenges

Evan M. Bloch, Marion Vermeulen, Edward Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Blood safety remains an important public health concern in Africa where lack of availability or provision of unsafe blood adversely impacts morbidity and mortality in the region. In recognition of this shortfall, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a goal of regional blood safety by 2012 through improved "organization and management, blood donor recruitment and collection, testing of donor blood as well as appropriate clinical use of blood" (Tagny et al: Transfusion. 2008;48:1256-1261; Tapko et al: Status of Blood Safety in the WHO African Region: Report of the 2006 Survey http://www.afro.who.int/en/divisions-a-programmes/dsd/health-technologies-a-laboratories.html. Brazzaville, Republic of Congo: WHO Regional Office for Africa; 2006). Although there has been substantial progress toward meeting these objectives, there are continued obstacles to both development and sustainability. In a setting where transfusion oversight is still being improved, transfusion-transmitted infections are of real concern. The high prevalence of some transfusion-transmissible agents such as hepatitis B virus and HIV in the general population means that some infected blood units escape detection by even well-performed laboratory testing, resulting in potential downstream transmission to patients. The spectrum of transfusion-transmitted infection include conventional as well as exotic pathogens, many of which are endemic to the region, thereby imparting ongoing challenges to recruitment and testing strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-180
Number of pages17
JournalTransfusion medicine reviews
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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