Vaccines to Blood: Adapting Innovative Cold Chain Technologies for Storage of Safe Blood

Organization: 
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
Organization Location: 
Seattle, WA USA

Well-funded, effective vaccine initiatives have developed important technologies that can positively impact other health care sectors. The challenge is to clearly identify and proactively exploit the most promising "spin-off" opportunities early on. By redirecting recent innovations in vaccine cold chain toward safe blood storage, we anticipate an immediate, life-saving impact for women experiencing obstetric emergencies. They might otherwise die from lack of available blood or from bacterial and viral infections resulting from improper storage conditions or infected donor blood. We propose to identify and deploy appropriate vaccine cold chain technologies that can enable autonomous and safe blood storage. We will introduce these innovative spin-off solutions in district hospitals in The Gambia and measure their efficacy and clinical impact. Specific cold chain tools that are ready to adapt for safe blood storage include low-cost time-temperature labels and SolarChill grid-independent refrigerators. Integration of these immediately available technologies into comprehensive emergency obstetric facilities will dramatically increase blood transfusion capacity, lead to substantially reduced maternal mortality rates, and strengthen health systems by expanding the delivery of high-quality, focused, integrated emergency obstetric care.