Strengthening the blood supply system
In 2007, Turkey passed a new law to establish a centralised system of supplying blood. It envisaged switching from a hospital-based system to a centralised system based on regional blood, transfusion and donation centres. The reorganisation of the blood supply and transfusion procedures required a review of the existing system and the development of strategic and activity plans. It also required the adoption of EU legislation in the area.
The aims of the project and its core activities
The project’s objective was to develop a national blood programme based on regional blood centres. Under the authority of the General Directorate of Curative Services of the Ministry of Health, this new service required legislation, national guidelines, trained personnel and a data management system.
The project has produced a policy and a strategy document, developed on the basis of an extensive situation analysis, which includes blood transfusion standards, quality guidelines, hemovigilance systems and procedures for the appropriate clinical usage of blood.
It also delivered recommendations, which included a call for the establishment of a competent blood authority, to the Ministry following a review of existing Turkish legislation with the EU’s.
A reorganisation plan for the blood banking and transfusion system was then devised after a database was set up of existing structures. An expert committee was created to supervise the regional centres.
In order to cater for the training needs of the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Red Crescent staff, a pool of 100 instructors in blood banking and transfusion was formed. To empower the existing human resources of the system with the necessary technical knowledge and skills, a total of 1,200 staff from both institutions received training in haemovigilance and total quality management, 750 clinicians on good clinical use of blood, and 250 technical staff from blood units on quality control. In addition, 90 ministry staff at central and provincial level to function were trained as inspectors to ensure quality in the blood service.
A national data management system was also created to facilitate the regular flow of information between the Ministry of Health, regional blood centres, transfusion centres and donation centres.
The project has offered valuable tools and data for policymakers, researchers, advocates and volunteers working in the field of blood collection and usage. The information gathered will prompt policymakers to revise and review existing policies and priorities, which may contribute to new structural and legislative changes as well as a better allocation of resources to ensure an efficient and safe supply of blood.