Blood services

Blood services

The safety and integrity of a nation’s blood supply is fundamental to the security of its health system and is linked to the delivery of three UN Millennium Development Goals:

  • Reduce child mortality

  • Improve maternal health

  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recognizes that ‘health security is a fundamental and indispensable prerequisite to global, national and individual development’.

The IFRC’s health security priorities include:

  • improving local, regional and international capacity to respond to disasters and public health emergencies

  • increasing health promotion, disease prevention and disaster risk reduction in vulnerable communities

  • increasing HIV/AIDS programming and advocacy

Meeting public expectations

People everywhere have the right to expect that blood and blood products supplied to them are gathered and provided in a safe and sustainable way. The integrity with which blood programmes are administered is critical to building and maintaining community trust.

The IFRC supports the establishment of safe and sustainable blood systems, with a particular emphasis on voluntary non-remunerated blood donation (VNRBD). Voluntary non-paid blood donors, particularly those who donate blood regularly, provide the foundation for a safe, sustainable blood supply that meets the needs of all patients requiring blood transfusion.

The role of government

Blood transfusion is an essential part of modern health care and a government has a duty to provide good healthcare for its citizens. A blood programme is a serious commitment in terms of financial and human resources.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies work with their countries’ ministries of health to determine the best way to use the strength of the IFRC. This strength is often in the area of education or mobilization of populations towards voluntary blood donation.

Our vision, in partnership with the World Health Organization

The IFRC has worked with the World Health Organization to develop a global framework to help achieve 100 per cent voluntary blood donation in every country. This has been achieved in more than 50 nations, including resource-limited countries.

The road ahead

The IFRC’s 2009 position paper on Promoting Safe and Sustainable Blood Systems advocates approaches that establish or maintain the safety and sustainability of blood systems.

How is blood used to save life?

The demand and supply of lifesaving blood varies in different countries. Please read the brochure for more information.

Voluntary blood donation

Read the new brochure on blood services