Upgrading the National Blood Transfusion Services in Sri Lanka

In July 2012 the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka decided to start the project Upgrading the National Blood Transfusion Services of Sri Lanka with state of the art technology giving special emphasis to north and east. The government signed a contract with Simed International for this project. Sanquin Consulting Services is involved in the technical assistance and training part of the project.

Focus and background

The project aims to construct and equip two new blood bank buildings, as well as to upgrade peripheral blood banks in mainly the north and east of Sri Lanka with new equipment. In strengthening the National Blood Transfusion Service in the country, the following aspects are considered:

  • Testing of donated blood with ultra high sensitive methods (NAT)
  • Cord Blood Banking
  • Establishment of Aphaeresis centers in selected areas
  • Storage and transportation of blood products
  • Production of high value lifesaving drugs from unused blood components, such as plasma
  • Computerized network
  • Support a national stem cell transplantation program

Project partner

In this project Consulting Services provides technical assistance and creates a training program in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) and Ministry of Health (MoH). The program is aiming for a training of trainers and capacity building for the specific fields. 


Sanquin and the Academic Institute IDTM develop a tailor made training program in collaboration with NBTS and National Blood Center (NBC). Training activities start in the Netherlands and are implemented afterwards in Sri Lanka. The training includes the following aspects:

  • Implementation of nucleic acid testing (NAT) for blood products
  • Development of Frozen Red Cell Bank
  • Introduction of TEM as service for the hospitals
  • Support role of NBC for the development of a national Sri Lankan Stem Cell program, including:
    • HLA laboratory upgrading; implementation of molecular testing
    • Collection and processing of stem cells for patients
    • Processing of autologous stem cell products of (family and non-related) donors
    • Developing a Cord Blood Bank (CBB)
  • AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) accreditation for CBB is regarded as a first step in future AABB accreditation of NBC