Ten years ago, the issue of blood supply in Vietnam demanded immediate attention as more and more medical procedures required blood transfusions and the available blood supplies were very low and of poor quality. Less than 15 percent of the country’s blood needs were being met. The vast majority of the blood supply came from paid donors or patient’s relatives in cases of emergency. The government lacked the capacity and resources to boost the quantity and—more importantly—the quality and safety of blood provided by the country’s many blood banks.
The World Bank, through IDA, opted for supporting Vietnam’s National Blood Transfusion Program, which is aimed at increasing blood supplies through a higher number of voluntary non-remunerated blood donors. Campaigns highlighting the merits of voluntary blood donation became important pillars of the Regional Blood Transfusion Centers Project, as did building the capacity of staff at the blood centers and health ministry. Overall, the project was aimed at transforming the Vietnamese mindset on giving blood and establishing regional blood centers as the source of quality blood products.
An IDA loan of US$38.2 million supported the government’s efforts to provide blood transfusions in public hospitals that are served by centralized blood centers. By the time of the project’s completion in 2009, Vietnam had:
- Over 93 percent of its blood supplies coming from voluntary unpaid donors, proving the effectiveness of the project’s advocacy and blood donation campaign.
- Collected nearly 250,000 units of blood from all four blood centers and could meet 100 percent of public hospital needs in over 30 hospitals.
- Successfully upgraded local skills and knowledge for blood transfusions, which help in improving diagnosis and proper usage of blood products.
- Successfully stopped one of three pathways to HIV/AIDS infection by ensuring the quality and safety of blood transfusions.
fight for life.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for meeting transfusion needs while reducing the related risks became the basis for the project. WHO/Luxembourg Technical Assistance provided parallel financing and technical support, especially in the areas of donor recruitment, national effective transfusion service, quality management and rational clinical use.
The project is a product of close cooperation and partnership between Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the World Bank. The WHO and Luxembourg Technical Assistance provided parallel financing for technical support to the project and to the Ministry of Health’s National Blood Safety Program. The two organizations continue to provide support to regions in Vietnam not covered by the project—especially in areas of donor recruitment, national effective transfusion service, quality management and rational clinical use.
IDA has served as a strong catalyst to greater homegrown initiatives in the area of blood transfusions in Vietnam. Beyond building the country’s first blood centers with IDA support, the government has developed a national blood policy and is working with other donors to build blood centers in other parts of the country. It has also recently inaugurated the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in Hanoi—a new facility under the Ministry of Health—outfitted with modern medical technologies to diagnose and treat all blood-related diseases. It also has the capacity to stock 150,000 units of blood per year.