Over 92 million blood donations are collected annually from all types of blood donors worldwide.1 Safety of supply is critical for blood product recipients. Yet despite the mandatory requirement for donated blood to be tested for transfusion-transmitted infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2011 that 39 out of 164 countries worldwide – approximately one in four of those examined – had failed to implement routine testing to a uniform standard.2 In some countries, even basic quality assurance remained lacking. Improved compliance with comprehensive blood product safety requirements is therefore crucial given the large numbers of potential donors worldwide living with undiagnosed infections.
Blood screening technologies help blood banks maintain supplies of reliable blood components. However, the availability of safe blood depends on the role that health systems take in segregating high-risk donors and performing appropriate laboratory analyses. In Latin America, the Latin American Red Cross plays a major role in screening donated blood. The Red Cross programs aim to limit the spread of infectious disease in order to reduce the risk for people in need of donated blood. For this reason, the Latin American Red Cross has installed a number of blood banks and screening centers equipped with the latest technology from Roche.