The global supply of blood for use in life-saving transfusions is insufficient to keep up with global demand, leaving most countries exposed to critical shortages, new research reveals.
The first detailed analysis of the global supply and demand for blood has found 119 out of 195 countries do not have enough in their banks to meet hospital needs.
Those nations, which include every country in central, eastern, and western sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania (not including Australasia), and South Asia, are missing roughly 102,359,632 units of blood, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) goals.
Blood transfusions are a pillar of modern medicine that saves millions of lives every year. But in low- and middle-income countries, many hospital patients do not have access to a timely and safe supply.
Around the world, over 100 million units of blood are donated annually, and yet 42 percent of that is collected in high-income countries, which include less than 16 percent of the world’s population.
In Africa, 38 countries collect fewer than WHO’s goal of 10 donations per 1,000 people, and often test kits for blood-borne diseases are lacking.
“Other studies have focused on blood safety, such as the risk of transmitting infections such as HIV,” says hematologist Christina Fitzmaurice from the University of Washington, “but ours is the first to identify where the most critical shortages lie, and therefore where the most work needs to be done by governments to increase donation, scale-up transfusion services, and develop alternatives.”
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