Blood safety and availability – WHO

Blood safety and availability – WHO

WHO | World Health Organization

Facts and figures from the 2007 Blood Safety Survey1

Fact sheet N°279
November 2009

Key facts

  • 65% of all blood donations are made in developed countries, home to just 25% of the world’s population.
  • In 73 countries, donation rates are still less than 1% of the population (the minimum needed to meet basic needs in a country). Of these, 71 are either developing or transitional countries.
  • 42 countries collected less than 25% of their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donors, which is the safest source.
  • 31 countries still reported collecting paid donations in 2007, more than 1 million donations in total.
  • 41 countries were not able to screen all blood donations for one or more of the following transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs)–HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis.

Global data

Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but millions of patients needing transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. The WHO programme on Blood Transfusion Safety monitors key quantitative blood safety indicators to assess the global situation on blood safety, monitor trends and progress and identify priority countries for support. This fact sheet is based on data collected for 2007.2

In 2007, 162 countries provided data to WHO on 85.4 million3 blood donations. The data comes from countries that account for
a total of 5.9 billion people, representing 92% of the global population. The report covers 7 997 blood centers which collected on average 9 000 donations per centre (range from 20–499 212). In developed countries, the average annual collection per blood centre was 13 600 (range 49–289 075), in transitional countries 6000 (range 20–499 212) and in developing countries 2 800 (range 114–23 251).

Blood supply

While the need for blood is universal, there is a major imbalance between developing and developed countries in the level of access to safe blood. It is estimated that donation by 1% of the population (10 per 1000 population) is generally the minimum needed to meet a nation’s most basic requirements for blood; the requirements are higher in countries with more advanced health-care systems.

  • Of the 85.4.million donations in 2007, about 65 % were collected in developed countries, home to just about 25% of the represented population.
  • Blood donations per 1000 population, which also reflect the general availability of blood in a country, vary widely and the lowest levels of availability are found in developing and transitional countries. The average donation rate in developed countries is 38.1 donations/1000 population (range 4.92–68.01); in transitional countries, this rate is 7.5 (range 1.07–35.18) and in developing countries an average 2.3 (range 0.40–7.46) donations per 1000 population were collected.
  • 73 countries reported collecting fewer than 10 donations per 1000 population. Among them, 71 are either developing or transitional countries.

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