The 3R Blood Donor Project: recognition, recall and repeat donation to transform access to safe blood transfusion
Timely access to safe blood transfusion is an essential component of antepartum, postpartum, and post-abortion care to prevent deaths from haemorrhage and severe anaemia. Peri-partum haemorrhage alone accounts for 34% of obstetric deaths in Africa and is an important cause of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Access to safe blood for transfusion is an integral component of comprehensive emergency obstetric care. A major roadblock to the provision of blood transfusions in low/middle-income countries is not enough safe blood in the right place at the right time. In Africa, only 52% of demand for blood transfusion is met with a shortfall of 2 million units; lack of blood is responsible for 26% of in-hospital maternal deaths due to haemorrhage; and blood transfusions have been responsible for 5-10% of HIV infections. The vast majority of blood donors in Africa donate only once. The key to making a step-change in both blood supply and safety is to unlock barriers (i.e. the non-functioning systems of donor identification, registration and recall) to repeat donation. This would multiply the blood supply from the current donor pool by two-threefold, transforming access to blood transfusion and reducing deaths among mothers and newborns across the region. This can be achieved by integrating two affordable and robust technologies, with proven scalability, in hard-to-reach environments: electronic donor identification and registration using iris recognition, and donor recall using mobile phone SMS. With 2-year seed funding we will assess feasibility and double repeat blood donations.