Blood transfusion is an essential component in any healthcare system. However, even in the best of circumstances, several seemingly uncontrollable factors can make meeting blood supply demands a challenge.
Every year, over 118 million blood and plasma donations are collected for use in supportive care worldwide.1 Reliable access to safe blood and blood products is essential for patients who require transfusion to maintain or improve their health or to save their lives.
In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced new measures to ensure the safety of donated blood and established a global database to address concerns about the availability, safety and accessibility of blood for transfusion.2
Since then, there have been major developments in mass screening for transfusion-transmissible infections with the identification of new infectious agents and significant improvements in the detection of markers of infection in donated blood.3
However, in many countries the recipients of blood and blood products remain at unacceptable risk of acquiring life-threatening infections that could easily be prevented.4