Blood transfusion safety

High-level Policy Makers Forum

Achieving Self-sufficiency in Safe Blood and Blood Products, based on Voluntary Non-remunerated Donation

High-level Policy Makers Forum

Equitable and timely access to safe blood and blood products, which include blood components for transfusion and plasma‐derived medicinal products, and their appropriate use is an essential component of health service provision and universal health coverage. 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 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". In this context, self‐sufficiency means that the national needs of patients for safe blood and blood products, as assessed within the framework of the national health system, are met in a timely manner and that patients have equitable access to transfusion services and blood products. With an increasing needs for blood and blood products globally, many countries are facing challenges in making sufficient supplies of the blood and blood products available and sustainable while ensuring their quality and safety from known and emerging threats to public health. Consequently, a large number of patients who require life-saving transfusion therapy still lack access to safe blood and blood products.

Noting the challenges on ensuring patients’ access to safe blood and blood products based on VNRD, WHO convened a High-level Policy Makers Forum on Self‐sufficiency in Safe Blood and Blood Products, based on VNRD from 8-9 October 2013, in Rome, Italy. This Forum was jointly organized with the Ministry of Health, Italy, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, and in collaboration with the Council of Europe, European Commission, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Society of Blood Transfusion, International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and European Blood Alliance. More than 150 participants including policy-makers from ministries of health, national blood programmes, national blood transfusion services, national public health agencies, national regulatory bodies, national plasma fractionation institutes; representatives of international, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, and experts in transfusion medicine from over 50 countries from all WHO regions participated in this forum in Rome.

During the Forum, the WHO global status report on self-sufficiency was presented and countries and international organizations shared their experiences, challenges, strategies and mechanisms on self‐sufficiency to safe blood and blood products based on VNRD. Furthermore, there was global consensus and political commitment for countries to work towards achieving self-sufficiency of safe blood and blood products based on VNRD. The participants adopted ‘The Rome Declaration on Achieving Self-sufficiency in Safe Blood and Blood Products based on Voluntary Non-Remunerated Donation’ expressing the consensus, commitment and support of national health authorities and international organizations for policies, mechanisms and actions to be taken by countries and international organizations at regional and global levels.