A blood product is any therapeutic substance derived from human blood, including whole blood and other blood components for transfusion, and plasma-derived medicinal products.
Medicinal (medical therapeutic) products derived from human donations of blood and plasma play a critical role in health care. Safe, effective and quality-assured blood products contribute to improving and saving millions of lives every year, as they:
- address child mortality and maternal health;
- dramatically improve the life expectancy and quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening inherited disorders, such as haemophilia, thalassaemia and immune deficiency, and acquired conditions such as cancer and traumatic haemorrhage; and
- support complex medical and surgical procedures, including transplantation.
Blood products contribute to the saving of millions of lives every year, improve dramatically life expectancy and the quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, and support complex medical and surgical procedures.
In high-income countries, blood products are most commonly used to support advanced medical and surgical procedures, including treatments of cancer and haematological diseases, trauma resuscitation, cardiovascular surgery and transplantation. In lower-income countries where diagnosis and treatment options are limited, a greater portion of blood is used to treat women with obstetric emergencies and children suffering from severe anaemia, often resulting from malaria and malnutrition.
In many countries, demand outstrips supply, and blood services throughout the world face the daunting challenge of making sufficient supplies of blood products available, while also ensuring the quality and safety of these products in the face of known and emerging threats to public health.
The health-related Sustainable Development Goals of reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases cannot be achieved unless significant attention is paid to the availability, safety and quality of blood products.
The WHO Action framework to advance universal access to safe, effective and quality-assured blood products 2020–2023 aims to provide strategic direction to global efforts to address present barriers to the safety and availability of blood products.
Working with Member States and partners, WHO aims to achieve universal access to safe, effective and quality assured blood products through the Framework’s 6 strategic objectives. The objectives focus on:
- Appropriately structured, well-coordinated and sustainably resourced national blood systems;
- Appropriate national frameworks of regulatory controls, national standards and quality assessment programmes;
- Functioning and efficiently managed blood services in all countries;
- Effective implementation of patient blood management to optimize clinical practice of transfusion;
- Effective surveillance, haemovigilance and pharmacovigilance, supported by comprehensive and accurate data collection systems;
- Partnerships, collaboration and information exchange to achieve key priorities and jointly address challenges and emerging threats at global, regional and national levels.