FRI, 13 NOV, 2020-theGBJournal-A collaboration of stakeholders in the public and private sectors across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) launched the Coalition of Blood for Africa (CoBA) on a virtual platform. This reflects a growing consensus that progress toward adequate, safe and sustainable blood in Africa requires multi-stakeholder, multi-pronged and innovative approaches to impact lives across the continent.
Blood is a vital healthcare resource. It is most often used in Africa to treat pregnancy-related complications and severe childhood anemia that is caused by a variety of contributors including malaria and sickle cell disease. Blood is increasingly important for patients with kidney failure who are on dialysis and to help cancer patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the number of units of blood needed to sustain an adequate level of health equals 1% of a nation’s population – 10 units per 1000 people. Yet many African countries fall well short of the minimum goal. The lack of infrastructure and equipment for collection and processing of blood components is a key impediment to providing a sustainable blood supply. Though blood and safe transfusion services are essential parts of any strong health system, the safety, sustainability and adequacy of blood remains a major health challenge in many African countries.
“Today is about mobilizing action, as we convene the first ever Coalition of Blood in Africa,” said Antoinette Gawin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies. “The coalition’s goal is to support the World Health Organization’s commitments [WHA63.12] and aligns with our global mission to serve more patients. Providing safe access to blood in Africa is one way to achieve this.”
The coalition is anchored on three pillars:
-Reflection – Supporting informed-decision making with research, policy analysis and data collection
-Dialogue – Creating awareness about the need for blood and blood safety
-Action – Providing technical assistance to support initiatives, capacity-building programs and activities like blood collection drives; helping with technical inputs to strengthen blood-related legislation ad policies, such as guidelines for the management of sickle cell disease
The coalition brings together an unprecedented array of health experts, including public-sector research institutes, ministries of health, academia, not-for-profit research and development organizations, NGOs, international organizations and funders all committed to finding solutions to address the challenges facing access to safe, sustainable blood in Africa.
“The scale of the challenge is clearly beyond the scope of a single organization and I am confident that the Coalition will facilitate a coordinated approach to address the challenges facing blood in Africa and find sustainable solutions,” says Gavin Evans, Executive Director, Global Blood Fund.
The launch of CoBA was convened by Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, a global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cell technology, in collaboration with Global Blood Fund, Africa Practice, Africa Health Business and Siemens Healthineers.