The world is surrounded by a critical blood shortage that is essential for life-saving transfusions. Researchers estimate that 119 countries have insufficient supply to meet hospital demand. They include countries in Africa, Oceania, and South Asia (shown in red, yellow, and orange)

The world is in the midst of a critical blood shortage that is essential for life-saving transfusions, researchers have warned.


A global report showed that 119 out of 196 countries – mainly in Africa, Oceania and South Asia – have insufficient supply to meet hospital demand.

Those nations together are more than 100 million blood units that do not meet the goals of the World Health Organization (WHO). They all have a medium to low income.

The WHO recommends that countries have at least 10 donations per 1,000 people. But 38 countries collect less than that goal in Africa, researchers estimate.

South Sudan was found to have the lowest blood flow with only 46 units per 100,000 people.

The world is surrounded by a critical blood shortage that is essential for life-saving transfusions. Researchers estimate that 119 countries have insufficient supply to meet hospital demand. They include countries in Africa, Oceania, and South Asia (shown in red, yellow, and orange)

The world is surrounded by a critical blood shortage that is essential for life-saving transfusions. Researchers estimate that 119 countries have insufficient supply to meet hospital demand. They include countries in Africa, Oceania, and South Asia (shown in red, yellow, and orange)


Researchers said that the African blood requirement was 75 times greater than the supply.

The scientists discovered that India had the largest absolute deficit, with the country experiencing a deficit of nearly 41 million units.

They say that more needs to be invested in low and middle income countries in order to expand national transfusion services.

transfusions save millions of lives every year and replace blood that has been lost due to surgery or injury or provide it if your body is not making good blood.

Patients may need a blood transfusion if they have anemia, sickle cell disease, a bleeding disorder such as haemophilia or cancer.

Developing countries rely on these transfusions due to a higher prevalence of blood-borne diseases and complications during pregnancy.


Most people can give blood.


Donors must be:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Weigh between 50 kg (7 pcs 12 lbs) and 160 kg (25 pcs)
  • Age 17 to 66

Donors can be 70 if they have given blood before, or older if they have donated in the last two years.

Men can donate every 12 weeks and women every 16 weeks.

Males can give more often because they generally weigh more, which means that they have more iron.

Giving blood removes iron from the body.


This is an essential mineral that helps to give a person strength and energy.

A person may not be able to give blood if they:

  • Undergoing medical or hospital treatment
  • Take certain medications
  • I recently went to & # 39; prohibited areas & # 39; traveled
  • Have a tattoo or piercing
  • Are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • To feel sick
  • Have cancer
  • Receives blood or an organ transplant

Source: NHS Blood and transplantation

More than 100 million blood blocks are donated every year to these nations, which make up 80 percent of the world's population.

High-income countries, where only 16 percent of the world's population lives, bear the burden and deliver 42 percent of the blood in the banks of developing countries.


For their research, researchers from the University of Washington looked at the WHO Global Status Report on Blood Safety and Availability for every country in the world.

To estimate the total blood needs of one country, the researchers calculated how many units of blood would be needed for 20 different medical conditions.

Taking into account their prevalence per region, the team then estimated the gap between supply and demand in each of these countries.

They then referred to this with data from the WHO Global Status Report on Blood Safety and a 2017 Global Burden of Disease study.

Team-based blood use with the help of American intramural practices.


They note that this can underestimate true blood needs in developing countries where tropical diseases, STDs and malaria occur much more often than in America.

But they say these initial findings give health bosses a rough estimate that can help them prepare for the future.

Their findings, published in the journal The Lancet, revealed that every country needed more blood than the goal of the WHO.

The team of academics calculated the total blood flow around the world around the 272 million units.

But with a demand of 303 million units, the world was 30 million blood blood units. In the 119 countries with insufficient supply, this deficit reached 100 million units.

And with the exponentially increasing population and better access to hospital care, demand will only increase, the researchers say.

Author Meghan Delaney of the Children's National Hospital in Washington said: "As more people have access to care in low and medium income countries, the demand for blood transfusions will increase further.

& # 39; And – without financial, structural and regulatory support – the gap that we have discovered between the global supply and the demand for blood will widen. & # 39;

Co-author Christina Fitzmaurice, professor of hematology at the University of Washington, added: ÔÇťOther studies have focused on blood safety, such as the risk of transmission of infections such as HIV.

& # 39; But ours is the first to identify where the most critical deficits are, and therefore where most work needs to be done by governments to increase donation, scale up transfusion services and develop alternatives. & # 39;


In the study, the authors write: & # 39; Strategic investments are needed in many low and middle income countries to expand national transfusion services, blood management systems and alternatives to blood transfusions.

& # 39; There is a major unmet need for more government support, financial, structural, and by establishing regulatory oversight to ensure delivery, quality and safety. & # 39;


Blood transfusion

A blood transfusion is when you receive blood from someone else (a donor). It is a very safe procedure that can be life saving.

Why is it done?


A blood transfusion may be necessary if you have a shortage of red blood cells.

This may be because your body is not producing enough red blood cells or because you have lost blood.

For example, you need a blood transfusion if you:

  • a condition that affects the functioning of your red blood cells, such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • a type of cancer or cancer treatment that can affect blood cells – including leukemia, chemotherapy, or stem cell transplants
  • severe bleeding – usually from surgery, childbirth or a serious accident

A blood transfusion can replace blood that you have lost or only replace the fluid or cells in blood (such as red blood cells, plasma or cells called platelets).

Ask your doctor or nurse why they think you need a transfusion if you are unsure.


What is happening

Before you receive a blood transfusion, the procedure is explained to you and you are asked to sign a consent form.

A blood sample is also taken to check your blood type.

You will only receive blood that is safe for someone with your blood group.

During a blood transfusion:

  • You sit or lie in a chair or bed.
  • A needle is inserted into a vein in your arm or hand.
  • The needle is connected to a tube and a bag of blood.
  • The blood flows through the tube into your vein.

It can take up to 4 hours to receive 1 bag of blood, but it is usually faster than this.

Normally you can go home soon afterwards, unless you are seriously unwell or need a lot of blood.

How you can feel during and after

You may feel a sharp puncture when the needle is first inserted into your vein, but you should not feel anything during the transfusion.

You will be checked regularly while you receive the blood. Tell an employee if you feel unwell or uncomfortable.

Some people develop a temperature, chills or a rash. This is usually treated with acetaminophen or by delaying the transfusion.

Your arm or hand can hurt and a few days later get a bruise.

Contact a doctor if you feel unwell within 24 hours of a blood transfusion, especially if you have breathing problems or pain in your chest or back.

Risks & # 39; s

Blood transfusions are common and very safe procedures.

All donor blood is checked before it is used to ensure that it does not contain serious infections such as hepatitis or HIV.

There is a very small risk of complications such as:

  • an allergic reaction to the donated blood
  • a problem with your heart, lungs or immune system (the body's defense against disease and infection)

The risks are explained before a transfusion is performed, unless this is not possible, for example if you need an emergency transfusion.

Contact your doctor or nurse if you are concerned.


A blood transfusion is only recommended if necessary and other treatments will not help.

If it is possible that you need a transfusion (for example if you have to undergo surgery or if you have anemia), you can sometimes receive medication to:

  • reduce your risk of bleeding, such as tranexamic acid
  • increase your number of red blood cells, such as iron tablets or injections

These can reduce your chances of blood transfusion.

Then give blood

Currently you cannot give blood if you have had a blood transfusion.

This is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk that a serious condition called variant CJD (vCJD) is passed on by donors.

Read more about who can give blood on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

Source: NHS

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