Blood transfusion safety

Ebola virus disease brings not only challenges but also opportunities for blood systems in West Africa

Directors and programme managers of the national blood transfusion services of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recently gathered in Geneva to meet with WHO. The consultation's main goal was to develop strategic short-term activities for the post-Ebola recovery, and long-term plans to rebuild the countries’ blood systems beyond their pre-Ebola capacities.

World Blood Donor Day 2014: Give blood for those who give life

13 June 2014 -- The focus of this year's World Blood Donor Day campaign is "Safe blood for saving mothers". The campaign aims to increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths. WHO encourages all countries, national and international partners working on blood transfusion and maternal health to develop an activity plan to highlight the need for timely access to safe blood and blood products to prevent maternal deaths.

Self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on VNRD

In 2010, the World Health Assembly deliberated on challenges to the availability, safety and quality of blood products and defined self‐sufficiency in the supply of safe blood and blood products based on Voluntary Non-Remunerated Donation (VNRD), and the security of that supply, as important national goals to prevent blood shortages and meet the transfusion requirements of the patient population. Resolution WHA63.12 urged Member States "to take all necessary steps to establish, implement and support nationally‐coordinated, efficiently‐managed and sustainable blood and plasma programmes according to the availability of resources, with the aim of achieving self‐sufficiency".

WHO Global Forum for Blood Safety

WHO Blood Transfusion Safety Programme (WHO/BTS), in collaboration with WHO PAHO/AMRO, WHO/PAHO Country office in Brazil, and with the collaboration and generous support of the Brazilian Government, convened the WHO Global Forum for Blood Safety and Global Blood Safety Network in Florianopolis, Brazil on 6-10 May 2013. WHO has established the global forum and the global network as a mechanism to foster collaboration, enhance communication and information exchange among key international experts, institutions, organizations and other stakeholders working on blood safety issues. The forum and the network meet once in two years to deliberate on specific topic/s relevant to the global blood safety concerns.


The World Health Organization has been at the forefront of the movement to improve global blood safety since 1975 as mandated by successive World Health Assembly resolutions. The objective of the WHO programme on Blood Transfusion Safety is to ensure provision of universal access to safe, quality and efficacious blood and blood products for transfusion, their safe and appropriate use, and also ensuring blood donor and patient safety.

WHO supports its Member States through policy advice and technical guidance, advocacy, mentoring, technical support, technology transfer, capacity building, twinning, networking, and facilitation of bilateral and multilateral funds.

Related information

Related departments

Blood safety in the WHO regional offices

Contact information

Blood Transfusion Safety
Department for Health Systems Policies and Workforce
World Health Organization-Headquarters
20 Avenue Appia
1211, Geneva 27