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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


CRUZ, José Ramiro  and  PEREZ-ROSALES, María Dolores. Availability, safety, and quality of blood for transfusion in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.2-3, pp.103-110. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: This article has two objectives: (1) to present for countries and territories of the Region of the Americas data on the number of blood donations, proportion of voluntary blood donors versus remunerated blood donors, coverage of screening for infectious agents, and separation of donated blood into its components and (2) to explore the relationships of those characteristics with economic and organizational factors in the countries and territories. METHODS: We carried out comparative analyses using population and health information gathered annually by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) from national health officials from the countries in the Americas, as well as economic information (gross national product (GNP) per capita) obtained from publications of the World Bank. RESULTS: There is a direct correlation between the availability of blood for transfusion and GNP per capita. Seven countries with a GNP per capita above US$ 10 000 per year account for 38% of the Regional population but 68% of the Regional blood donations. Voluntary blood donation is more common in the countries with better blood availability. There is no association between GNP per capita and coverage of screening for infectious agents. Nevertheless, of the six countries with a GNP per capita below US$ 1 000, only one of the six screens all units for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Countries with a higher proportion of voluntary blood donors tend to have lower prevalence rates of infectious markers. Separation of blood into its components is also more common in countries with higher blood donation rates. CONCLUSIONS: The availability, safety, and quality of blood for transfusion in the Americas needs to be improved. As part of that effort, national policies and strategies must be put into place so that the resources already allocated for blood services are better utilized.

Keywords : Blood donors; blood transfusion; socioeconomic factors; North America; Latin America; Caribbean.

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