Blood transfusion safety in sub-Saharan Africa: A literature review of changes and challenges in the 21st century

A. Weimer, C. T. Tagny, J. B. Tapko, C. Gouws, Aaron A Tobian, Paul Michael Ness, Evan Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Access to a safe, adequate blood supply has proven challenging in sub-Saharan Africa, where systemic deficiencies spanning policy, collections, testing, and posttransfusion surveillance have long been recognized. Progress in transfusion safety in the early 2000s was in large part due to intervention by the World Health Organization and other foreign governmental bodies, coupled with an influx of external funding. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A review of the literature was conducted to identify articles pertaining to blood safety in sub-Saharan Africa from January 2009 to March 2018. The search was directed toward addressing the major elements of the blood safety chain, in the countries comprising the World Health Organization African region. Of 1380 articles, 531 met inclusion criteria and 136 articles were reviewed. RESULTS: External support has been associated with increased recruitment of voluntary donors and expanded testing for the major transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs). However, the rates of TTIs among donors remain high. Regional education and training initiatives have been implemented, and a tiered accreditation process has been adopted. However, a general decline in funding for transfusion safety (2009 onwards) has strained the ability to maintain or improve transfusion-related services. Critical areas of need include data collection and dissemination, epidemiological surveillance for TTIs, donor recruitment, quality assurance and oversight (notably laboratory testing), and hemovigilance. CONCLUSION: Diminishing external support has been challenging for regional transfusion services. Critical areas of deficiency in regional blood transfusion safety remain. Nonetheless, substantive gains in education, training, and accreditation suggest durable gains in regional capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-427
Number of pages16
JournalTransfusion
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Blood Safety
Africa South of the Sahara
Blood Transfusion
Accreditation
Infection
Safety
Education
Foreign Bodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

Cite this

Blood transfusion safety in sub-Saharan Africa : A literature review of changes and challenges in the 21st century. / Weimer, A.; Tagny, C. T.; Tapko, J. B.; Gouws, C.; Tobian, Aaron A; Ness, Paul Michael; Bloch, Evan.

In: Transfusion, Vol. 59, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 412-427.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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