WHO to Establish Training Center for Blood Bank Personnel in Western Pacific Region
The World Health Organization on Monday announced plans for a Singapore-based training center for blood bank officials from the Western Pacific region, saying the current lack of training has increased the risk of HIV transmission in the area, Agence France-Presse reports. At a WHO meeting on quality management for blood transfusion services, U.H. Susantha De Silva, WHO representative for Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, cited "inadequate awareness among senior officers of the importance of quality management and insufficiently trained staff" as the main reasons for blood supply problems in the Western Pacific region. The region includes East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific islands. De Silva added, "The HIV epidemic situation in countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam -- and the recently reported cases of HIV infections through blood products collection in China -- highlights the importance of the issue. In many countries of our region, transfusion therapy -- despite being a life-saving procedure -- is still associated with significant risks." Patrick Tan, director of Singapore's Center for Transfusion Medicine, noted some countries in the Western Pacific "did not process blood correctly and blood groups were not properly recorded." The quality management training center aims to train 200 blood bank officers in four years (Agence France-Presse, 10/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.