Blood, donation & Transplantation Programme

The mission of the Blood Services programme is to cooperate technically with national blood programmes in Africa to ensure that they have sufficient quantities of safe blood to provide timely transfusions to all patients who need them, thus contributing to lower mortality and optimal patient care. Also, to provide timely transfusions to all patients who need them.

This section contains technical documents and a number of links that will enable visitors to access the basic tools necessary for ensuring the timely availability of sufficient quantities of safe blood for transfusions. It also includes promotional material that can be used to celebrate the AHO Programme of Action.

AHO Programme of Action 

(a) proactively implement the Plan of Action for Transfusion Safety by:

  1. defining a specific entity within the normative level of their ministries of health as responsible for the planning, oversight and overall efficient operation of the national blood system;
  2. estimating the annual national need for blood components, taking into consideration unforeseen emergencies, expected increases of the general and elderly population, social inclusion of currently excluded populations, road traffic injuries, and local adoption of medical technologies, such as transplants and cancer treatment, and the financial resources necessary to cover those needs;
  3. establishing a network of volunteers to educate the community and to promote voluntary blood donation and service blood donors, with special attention to youth programs;

(b) except in limited circumstances of emergency medical necessity, terminate replacement and paid blood donation by the end of 2010, with a goal of 100% voluntary, altruistic, non-remunerated blood donation, using the information obtained from socio-anthropological surveys conducted in the countries, given that blood collection should not be solely the responsibility of hospital medical teams;

(c) terminate mandatory patient replacement of transfused blood by the end of 2010;

(d) share best practices in the recruitment and retention of voluntary blood donors.


(1) to take all the 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, unless special circumstances preclude it;

(2) to take all the necessary steps to update their national regulations on donor assessment and deferral, the collection, testing, processing, storage, transportation and use of blood products, and operation of regulatory authorities in order to ensure that regulatory control in the area of quality and safety of blood products across the entire transfusion chain meets internationally recognized standards;

(3) to establish quality systems, for the processing of whole blood and blood components, good manufacturing practices for the production of plasma-derived medicinal products and appropriate regulatory control, including the use of diagnostic devices to prevent transfusion-transmissible diseases with highest sensitivity and specificity;

(4) to build human resource capacity through the provision of initial and continuing training of staff to ensure quality of blood services and blood products;

(5) to enhance the quality of evaluation and regulatory actions in the area of blood products and associated medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic devices;

(6) to establish or strengthen systems for the safe and rational use of blood products and to provide training for all staff involved in clinical transfusion, to implement potential solutions in order to minimize transfusion errors and promote patient safety, to promote the availability of transfusion alternatives including, where appropriate, autologous transfusion and patient blood management;

(7) to ensure the reliability of mechanisms for reporting serious or unexpected adverse reactions to blood and plasma donation and to the receipt of blood components and plasma-derived medicinal products, including transmissions of pathogens;


Taking account national context and priorities to:

a) establish well-organized, nationally coordinated, and sustainable blood programs and services that are integrated into the health system with the appropriate legal and regulatory framework necessary to advance toward ensuring universal access to blood and blood products through sufficient supply, quality, and safety, and the appropriate use of blood and blood products;

b) allocate the necessary resources for the proper functioning and development of the system, including:

  • financial resources to ensure the viability and transparent management of the system to prevent the sale of blood, except where national law so allows, and to prevent profiteering,
  • the availability of trained human resources by supporting educational efforts and measures to avoid high staff rotation in blood services;

c) promote only non-remunerated, repeated, voluntary blood donations; and discourage remunerated and family/replacement donations, except where protected by the national regulatory system;

d) set up quality management systems that ensure: universal screening of blood for the markers, the implementation of national programs for external performance evaluation, the appropriate use of blood and blood products to promote patient safety, as well as the identification of needs for blood and blood products in order to guarantee universal access and reduce discards;

e) promote intersectoral participation (public and private sector, other ministries, civil society, among others) to strengthen resources and achieve synergies that benefit the national blood system;

f) establish a regulatory framework that strengthens the health surveillance system to ensure regulation and oversight of the transfusion chain;

g) ensure mechanisms to implement a non-punitive hemovigilance system in which transfusion reactions are reported in order to identify timely interventions and take corrective action to minimize risks;

h) allocate and use, as appropriate, resources to achieve the objectives of the Plan of Action for Universal Access to Safe Blood 2020-2030;

i) establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Plan.