The Dilemma of Blood Transfusions

The Dilemma of Blood Transfusions

Each year, almost 120 million units of blood are donated. This is insufficient to meet the need for safe blood, which many patients who need transfusions do not have timely access to. Since blood cannot be kept in storage forever, donations are always needed. To guarantee that there is always a supply for people in need, regular donations are necessary. Despite wthe idespread need, donation rates vary globally, with some high-income nations receiving up to seven times as many donations as low-income nations. Numerous medical disorders, such as anemia, issues during pregnancy and childbirth, severe trauma from accidents, and surgical operations all call for blood transfusions. They are also frequently used for treatments for hemophilia and patients with illnesses including sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

It is crucial to continue using safe and efficient methods for collecting, storing, and using donated blood. Known as haemovigilance as a whole, these protocols standardize the use of blood in healthcare and span the full blood transfusion chain.

Other Uses

Beyond whole blood transfusions, donated blood is utilized in numerous other ways. It can be processed into plasma, red cell concentrates, platelet concentrates, and more, each of which has a different application in the provision of medical treatment. This is a crucial part of the transfusion train because it sometimes enables a unit of donated blood to serve the needs of multiple patients. However, only 50 of the 173 reporting nations generate plasma-derived medicines domestically, and not all of them have the infrastructure necessary to handle blood in this way. Three groups of people—unpaid volunteers, patient's relatives, and paid donors—contribute blood to the world's blood supply through more than 12 000 blood centers. Because they tend to have fewer bloodborne infections, WHO encourages the creation of national blood systems based on unpaid volunteers. Even so, many nations still rely heavily on paid donors and family members for the majority of their blood supply, receiving less than half of donations from unpaid volunteers.


Many preventable fatalities have been caused by the lack of prompt, safe blood transfusions. Any healthcare system needs a steady supply of blood, but this depends on persistent donations and a strong system of medical treatment. Regarding blood donation, there are significant disparities across low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Only 16% of the world's population resides in high-income countries, where 42% of the almost 120 million units of blood donated annually are. Youth donations are higher in low- and middle-income nations than in high-income nations, though.

Many healthcare systems are unable to properly screen given blood for infections like HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis by quality system norms, which further contributes to insufficient collection rates. The inconsistency of testing kit supplies, particularly in low-income communities, may contribute to the inability to test blood. The spread of transfusion-transmissible pathogens, which can jeopardize a patient's health and put an additional load on healthcare systems, is facilitated by inadequate testing.