Pakistan: Blood Donor Management Practices Training Workshop

Friday, September 22, 2017
A successful training workshop on milestones in blood donor management practices was recently held at the Regional Blood Centre (RBC) in Peshawar in September in the context of the KfW-funded and EPOS implemented ‘Safe Blood Transfusion Project (SBTP)’. The Peshawar RBC is processing the blood units collected at 5 linked HBBs. While Peshawar RBC staff has been adequately trained in donor management practices, HBB staff still need orientation. For this purpose, the workshop was organized in collaboration with the SBTP and KfW.  
The workshop brought together nearly 50 participants from hospital blood banks (HBBs), NGO sector blood banks and the RBC to discuss principles, standards, objectives, and key elements of donor management and to review progress and lessons learnt in the implementation of donor management at the RBC Peshawar. The workshop also served to identify strategic actions for strengthening donor management practices in all HBBs.
Workshop facilitators included Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator, Dr. Shahtaj Khan, Associate Professor Haematology HMC, Dr. Sham ur Rehman Afridi, Project Director SBTP, Dr. Noor-e-Saba, Manager RBC and Mr. Usman Waheed, Technical Expert SBTP.
The Workshop further supports the transition phase from a fragmented blood transfusion system to a consolidated blood transfusion system in Pakistan. One key element of this system reform is the introduction of harmonized donor management practices under the National Blood Donor Policy (2011) and National Blood Policy and Strategic Framework (2014-20).
The collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors (VNRBD) is an important measure for ensuring the safety, quality, availability and accessibility of blood transfusion. The World Health Organization recommends that all countries should be self-sufficient in all blood products and that every blood donation should be voluntary, anonymous and non-remunerated. World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions WHA 28.72 and WHA 58.13 urged member states to develop national blood transfusion services based on VNRBD.
While several components are required for ensuring blood safety, one of the weak areas is the lack of a blood donor management section in blood centres. This includes the education, motivation and recruitment of voluntary blood donors; the use of stringent criteria for assessing the suitability of donors; safe blood collection procedures; and high-quality donor care. In developing countries, including Pakistan, a very low VNRBD system exists with just 10% voluntary donations.
Speakers and topics addressed at the workshop included:
Dr. Shams-ur-Rehman Afridi, Project Director SBTP, SBTP, welcomed participants and thanked KfW for organizing the event. While acknowledging the challenge of maintaining a secure and safe blood supply, the commitment of KPK Government to become self-sufficient in blood and blood components based on VNRBD, was appreciated. With the operationalization of the Peshawar RBC in Phase I, the standard of transfusion services in the province would undergo a paradigm shift. In KPK, three more RBCs will be established in Phase II (2016-19) in Abbottabad, DI Khan and Swat. These Centres will serve as blood procurement and distribution centers, ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities which involve mobilization and retention of voluntary and regular blood donors, maintenance of donor database, collection of blood donations as well as processing, screening, testing, component preparation and storage of the prepared components.
Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator of SBTP, congratulated the management of RBC Peshawar for the recent progress made. He provided an overview of national blood safety system reforms. Since 2008, the Government of Pakistan engages in blood safety system reforms to promote blood safety and improve access to safe blood. With the support of the German Government, the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme was established in 2010, providing €15 M of support in Phase I and having committed €10 M Euros for Phase II. In the first phase, a nationwide network of 10 modern blood centres and the refurbishment of 59 existing hospital based blood banks throughout the country was funded through KfW. This impressive infrastructure has started service delivery in many cities and is making a significant impact. In addition to infrastructure development, technical outputs since 2010 have strengthened the national blood safety system reforms process including the development of an SOP Manual, National Standards, Clinical Use of Blood Guidelines and National QC Guidelines.
Dr. Shahtaj Khan, Associate Professor Haematology HMC, deliberated on the topic of the “Vein to Vein Transfusion Chain”. She highlighted the basics of the transfusion process starting from donor vein to the patient vein and referred to all aspects of blood transfusion as well as on management of any adverse events. A detailed question and answer session followed the presentation.
Mr. Usman Waheed, Technical Expert of SBTP, presented the topics of Haemovigilance and National Quality Control (QC) Guidelines. He highlighted that the haemovigilance system is an integral part of quality management in blood services developed for continuous improvement of quality and safety of the entire transfusion process: from blood donation and processing to transfusion for the monitoring, reporting and investigation of adverse events and reactions and near-misses related to blood transfusion. The information gained from the investigation and analyses facilitate corrective and preventive actions to be taken to minimize the potential risks associated with safety and quality in blood processing and transfusion for donors, patients and staff. The National QC Guidelines have been developed in consultation with all key stakeholders, national and international. The SBTP plans to implement the guideline document in at least 100 centres by the end of 2017.
Dr. Noor-e-Saba, RBC Manager, presented the standard practices of donor management with examples from developed countries. She underlined that the recruitment of safe donors was a challenging task and the first step is to have a comprehensive voluntary blood donation programme with special emphasis on campaigns towards young people.
We thank all participants and speakers for their vivid contributions and fruitful sharing of experience and lessons learnt.