Promoting a Safe and Sustainable Blood Transfusion System in Nepal

A technical collaboration between Nepal Central Blood Transfusion Services (CBTS) and Sanquin, initiated by the Non Resident Nepali Society (NRNA) with support of TBI.
For betterment of the quality of the Nepali blood transfusion chain.

In Nepal the blood supply is regulated by the Ministry of Health. The blood supply is executed by the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) and consists of 105 blood units. Blood supply is coordinated by teh Central Blood Transfusion Services (CBTS). Main goal of CBTS is to centrally coordinate the blood supply and products system throughout the country.

The Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) is one of the priority programs of the Government of Nepal. In 1964 the Nepal Red Cross Society started to provide institution based Blood Transfusion Services through the Department of Pathology at Bir Hospital. In 1966 the first Blood Transfusion Service was establishe as Laxmi Blood Bank.
In 1992 the governement of Nepal mandated NRCS in recognition of their pioneering role and long service as the sole agency to conduct blood programmes in Nepal. An national policy on Blood Transfusion Services was developed and approved by the governement in 1993.

Where during the initial years, Blood Transfusion Services in Nepal was only available in Kathmandu, over the years it has been expanded to 100 BTS Centers in 67 of the 75 districts in the country. A present, the BTS is regulated by the Ministry of Health through the National Bureau of Blood Transfusion System NBBTS. It is coordinated by the Central Blood Transfusion Service (CBTS) under the umbrella of the Nepal Red Cross Society.

The supply of safe and adequate blood and blood products has remained one of the main goals of the National Blood Programme. The current situation, however, shows a number of challenges effecting the availabily of sufficient blood products. Technical expertise, state of the art facility and testing are main priorities.
In order to improve the standard of the Blood Transfuision Services in Nepal, NRNA's Skill Knowledge and Information (SKI) Committee teamed up with Nepales professionals working in the field of different parts of the world. This resulted in the involvement of Sanquin Consulting Services as partner of NRCS/CBTS.

In this project Sanquin Consulting Services offers technical collaboration for knowledge sharing. Our expertise will be available for capacity building of Nepales professionals and CBTS Nepal, enabling them to take over their role in the near future.

Key objective in this project is to develop and establish a strategy to promote a safe and sustainable blood transfusion system in Nepal: "Safe Blood Donation is Life Donation".

Objectives and activities

  • Support for strategic planning and capacity building for the basic necessities of CBTS Nepal to develop a Centrally Coordinated Blood Transfusion Services with the guarantuee of Miniumum Standard Quality overall the country.
  • Review the existing status of blood centers in Nepal in terms of infractructural facilities, human resources, managerial as well as technical aspects.
  • When appropriate conduct research with the help of trained Sanquin staff; CBTS Training program to identify gaps between current practices and WHO recommended standards. Apply the uniform methods for gradual improvements in the system.
  • Support the development of donor screening and diagnostic assays for safe supply of blood and blood products on demand.
  • Support the expansion of production of different blood products on demand in Nepal's medical and surgical context.

This 3 year project follows a step wise approach.
Phase I includes

  • A fact finding workshop for stakeholders of MoH, NRCS and hospitals to identify the priorities.
  • A questionnaire to rank the priorities and their feasability.
  • With the input start of a tailor made training in Nepal on Management and QMT for 15 champions.
  • Preparation fo a study tour at Sanquin, The Netherlands.
  • At the end of phase 1, an evaluation is made for input of phase 2: a tailor made training programme based on the existing GAP's developed in collaboration with the project partners.