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Chapter 14 – Blood Transfusion

Imelda Bates,
Shirley Owusu-Ofori

Only 39% of the global blood supply is donated in the poorest countries where 82% of the world's population lives.[1]

Blood transfusion is a vital component of every country's health service (Table 14.1). It can be a life-saving intervention for severe, acute anaemia, but mistakes in the transfusion process can be life-threatening, either immediately or years later through transmission of infectious agents. It is imperative that clinicians have a good understanding of how blood is acquired and prepared for transfusion, and when it should be used, and that governments put in place quality assurance mechanisms to guarantee that blood for transfusion is safe.

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Transfusion medicine is critical to the success of most clinical specialties and should be incorporated into all national health plans and budgets. Only 16% of member states meet all the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations …