Blood safety and Universal precaution
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 14:17
- Published on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 13:33
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If a person receives a blood transfusion with HIV-infected blood, there is a 95 percent risk they will become infected with the virus. This is why blood safety and universal precaution is high up on the list of priorities for PANCAP. In fact the first regional effort in the response to HIV infection was to secure the safety of blood for transfusions
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists a number of recommendations for countries to follow in order to maintain a safe and constant blood supply. These steps prevent transfusion-transmissible infections (TTI), which include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis, passing from a blood donor to the recipient of a blood transfusion. The recommendations are as follows:
• A nationally coordinated blood transfusion service
• Voluntary unpaid donors
• To test all donated blood
• To use blood efficiently and appropriately
• To ensure a safe transfusion practice
• To have a quality systems check throughout the blood transfusion process.
The Caribbean has done very well in this regard. With the exception of the Dominican Republic, all countries screen 100% of donated blood units (KS 3). A number of algorithms and guidelines have also been developed and implemented to ensure safe transfusion. In addition, the majority of health workers in the Region have been trained to observe universal precaution. These gains and successes are continuously being worked on.
For more information on blood safety and universal precaution see the following