WHO supported the participation of four members representing National Blood Council Maldives in a study tour on national blood transfusion services in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The study tour provided an opportunity for participants to observe and understand how the National Blood Transfusion Services are established and achieved in Sri Lanka with exclusive one hundred percent voluntary blood donations. This visit provided a platform for the experts of the two countries to share experiences as Maldives plans to establish a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service in the near future.
The National Blood Transfusion Center Sri Lanka (NBTS) is a decentralized unit which comes under Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. NBTS is the sole supplier of blood and blood products to all state hospitals and some of the private hospitals which are registered under Ministry of Health for supply of blood and blood products. The NBTS is designated as the WHO Collaborating Center for Blood Transfusion Services. Commendably, one hundred percent of Sri Lankan blood donors are voluntary non remunerated donors.
During the study tour, participants were able to learn more about the system for voluntary blood donor recruitment and retention and how safe blood and blood products are provided across the country. The participants were also able to gain knowledge on how patient blood management is established, donor data management process, blood component preparation etc. Moreover, the Maldives team were able to present on the country situation including a detailed gap analysis of blood transfusion services in the Maldives. The Sri Lankan National Blood Transfusion Service delivered presentations on blood storage, cold chain maintenance and transport, mobile blood donation campaigns, voluntary blood donations, donor requirements and retention, quality assurance, monitoring etc. The Sri Lanka team also accommodated tours and field visits for the Maldives team to National Blood Center, Hospitals, Mobile Camps.
“As a participant, it was very interesting to witness the components of the nationally coordinated system, the different levels of centers, and the national coordination in Sri Lanka.” Said Dr. Aishath Selna, Senior Executive Director of Maldives Blood Council, “It was indeed very impressive and a unique learning experience.”
“This was a very good opportunity for National Blood Council members to observe and study a very well organized and established transfusion service.” said Dr. Ahmed Umar, Associate Specialist in Pediatrics, “Thanks to WHO, the opportunity has enabled us to make plans to improve the existing services and establish a nationally coordinated blood transfusion services in the Maldives. It is very important to have uniformity in all aspects of transfusion services throughout the country, hence a quality, standard service can be rolled out in the future.”
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated throughout the world on 14th June. The slogan for 2023 World Blood Donor Day campaign is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.” It focuses on patients requiring life-long transfusion support and underlines the role every single person can play, by giving the valuable gift of blood or plasma.
“Giving blood or plasma regularly is so important. It creates a safe and sustainable supply of blood and blood products that can be always available, so that all patients in need can receive timely treatment.” said Dr Nazneen Anwar, WHO Representative, “WHO is proud to have expedited the experiential learning visit for members of the National Blood Council Maldives which will further strengthen the efforts towards establishing a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service. I would like to thank and acknowledge the support provided by Health Systems Department of WHO Southeast Asia Regional Office and WHO Country Office Sri Lanka for facilitating the experiential visit on request of Maldives.”
Safe blood saves lives. WHO remains committed to strengthening health systems and empowering communities to contribute towards voluntary non-remunerated regular blood donation to ensure that blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Source: WHO (WHO facilitates experiential learning to establish National Coordinated Blood Transfusion Service in the maldives) 13th June 2023