Blood transfusion safety

National blood policy

“Ensuring the safety and availability of blood and blood products is an essential public health responsibility. Measures to ensure blood safety also play a major role in preventing the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, virus and other blood borne pathogens in health care settings.”

Consistent quality and safety in the provision and administration of blood and blood products cannot be achieved without a coordinated service with an appropriate national blood policy. A national blood policy is a formal statement of intent that addresses the key organizational, financial, technical and legal issues for the establishment and development of the national blood system.

  • Affirm government commitment and support for the organization of an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable national blood programme which defines:
    • authority to implement the national blood policy
    • adequate, specific and sustainable funding with which an appropriate infrastructure, logistical resources and an adequate number of trained staff can be provided.
  • Define the measures that will be taken to meet the transfusion requirements of the patient population through the provision of adequate supplies of safe blood and blood products and their safe and rational use.
  • Define the strategy for promoting the safety and health of blood donors, the recipients of blood and blood products, health care workers and the environment.
  • Establish the requirements for a quality system to maintain the highest possible standards in all aspects of blood transfusion.

The policy should include:

  • A statement or letter of intent of the commitment by the national health authority to establish and maintain a system that will ensure the safety and adequacy of the national blood supply as an integral part of the national health system.
  • The legislative and regulatory framework for the national blood programme, including established and relevant legislation, government rules and regulations.
  • Definition of the roles, responsibilities and membership of a national blood commission/authority with an appropriate mandate for the effective organization and management of the national blood transfusion service(s).
  • Delegation of defined responsibilities, where appropriate, to institutions and/or non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations which should comply with the requirements of the national blood policy.
  • Financial basis for a sustainable national blood programme and its principal sources of funding.

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