News / Health

    WHO: Access to Safe Blood Can Reduce Maternal Deaths

    FILE - Blood units in storage at National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia, Bulgaria.
    FILE - Blood units in storage at National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia, Bulgaria.
    Lisa Schlein
    The World Health Organization says lack of access to safe blood is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of childbearing women each year.

    In advance of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, WHO is calling for action to make safe blood supplies available to prevent maternal deaths.

    According to WHO officials, about 800 women die each day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa and nearly one-third in South Asia.

    WHO Coordinator for Blood Transfusion Safety Dr. Neelam Dhingra says most of these deaths can be prevented.

    “Severe bleeding during pregnancy, delivery and after childbirth is the single biggest cause of maternal death and can kill a healthy woman within two hours if she is unattended," said Dhingra. "Urgent access to safe supplies of blood for transfusion is therefore crucial to saving the lives of these women. In many countries, blood supplies are inadequate and safe blood is not accessible when and where it is needed.”

    Many communities are simply not aware of the importance of having a safe blood supply on hand, she adds, explaining that a paucity of voluntary, unpaid blood donors is another major reason behind the lack of adequate safe blood supplies.

    “Many countries which have developed robust and strong blood systems, they have based it on voluntary, unpaid donations," she said. "It is also recognized that the infection prevalence is much lower in blood which is obtained from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.  So there are issues related to safety, to security of supply, as well as ethical concerns.”

    This conviction is so strong that past World Health Assemblies have adopted resolutions in which member states agree to develop national blood banks based on a voluntary, unpaid donor system.

    The WHO reports about 108 million blood donations are collected worldwide annually. It says more than half of these are collected in wealthy countries, home to 18 percent of the world’s population.

    While poor countries remain underserved, data show significant increases of voluntary unpaid blood donations in low-and middle-income countries. Between 2004 and 2012, WHO reports voluntary, unpaid blood donations in 162 countries increased by 8.6 million. The highest increase is recorded in South-East Asia followed by African regions.

    WHO says countries that have successfully reduced maternal deaths by improving access to a safe blood supply include Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Zambia and Ethiopia.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yvette Bunch from: USA
    June 11, 2014 3:29 PM
    While we shine the light on this challenge, please remember to focus on preventing the need of blood transfusion. Anemia is a worldwide problem. Now with inexpensive point of care monitors, or completely non-invasive monitors, all pregnant women should be screened for anemia and treated. The Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (www.sabm.org) which is a not for profit medical society, has a free cme available by Dr. Gross on Recognizing, Treatment and Management. You do have to create a new user account. It is a very generous resource that SABM has provided.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.