Global Blood Safety


foster and support global improvements in blood safety and availability

One of the key elements of blood transfusion is the availability to safe blood (products). A sustainable national blood programme assists in ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply. Globally, half of the annual blood donations are collected in high-income countries from various types of donors (voluntary unpaid, family/replacement and paid. Although, national blood supplies are >99.9% based on voluntary unpaid blood donations, 40 countries, however, collect only <25% from voluntary unpaid blood donors. In general, there are also wide differences in the efficiency of blood collection across countries and income groups. In a number of low-income countries, especially in the Sub Saharan African region, 20% of blood donations are not tested for transfusion-transmissible infections (HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis) and some of the tests used are not reliable, while this region is heavily affected by HIV. The minority of whole blood is separated into blood components in these countries also, which therefore limit their capacity to provide patients with the different blood components. And importantly, only a small number of low-income countries have a national haemovigilance system to monitor and improve the safety of the transfusion process.


This WP is intended to look at the 'big picture'. We exchange information and coordinate action programs by individuals or organizations with knowledge and expertise in transfusion medicine and related disciplines. We develop and coordinate international collaborations including scientific studies and offer a global network. We discuss the current blood safety issues from the different regions and the future role of convalescent plasma for treating new epidemics, like Ebola.

Our Chairperson is Martin Smid.



We meet at the ISBT congresses, publish reports and papers and bring together experts and professionals in Global Blood Safety for the development of new projects.

Joining the WP

Any ISBT member can join the WP, but a selection process is established, because we need to promote a global balance between all members. Any interested candidate should submit a short CV to our Chairperson. Membership is divided in the following groups:

  1. Individual ISBT members.
  2. Institutional members who will be individual representatives of organizations or government bodies that are Affiliated Members of ISBT.
  3. Observers, individuals or representatives who are not ISBT members or representatives of Affiliated Members of ISBT, but who are invited participants, or who have an interest in the WP GBS. Observer status is limited to a two-year term which is not renewable.
  4. Corporate Members, representatives of commercial companies with interest and activity related to global blood safety (maximum of two representatives from each Corporate member).

Interested in joining the Global Blood Safety WP? Please email our Secretary Thierry Burnouf or Chairperson Martin Smid.



Meetings and recommendations

The content is only accessible for ISBT members. To join ISBT, click here.


Workshop Stepwise Access to Safe Plasma Proteins in Resource-Constrained Countries: Local Production & Pathways to Fractionation

This workshop was held on September 21-23, 2021. The recordings and presentations are available through the above link. 


  1. Use of COVID‐19 convalescent plasma in low‐ and middle‐income countries: a call for ethical principles and the assurance of quality and safetyJay Epstein, W. Martin Smid, Silvano Wendel, Daniel Somuah and Thierry BurnoufVox Sanguinis
  2. Points to consider in the preparation and transfusion of COVID‐19 convalescent plasmaJay Epstein and Thierry BurnoufVox Sanguinis
  3. Eléments à prendre en compte dans la préparation et la transfusion du plasma de personnes guéries du COVID-19 dans les pays à faibles ou moyens revenus Smid WM, Burnouf T, Epstein J, Kamel H, Sibinga CS, Somuah D, Stramer SL, and Wendel S Africa Sanguine
  4. Points to consider in the preparation and transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in low– and middle– income countries Smid WM, Burnouf T, Epstein J, Kamel H, Sibinga CS, Somuah D, Stramer SL and Wendel S Africa Sanguine
  5. Sources of guidance on collection and use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma especially relevant to low- and middle- income countriesEpstein J, Burnouf T, Smid M Africa Sanguine
  6. Plasma-based COVID-19 treatments in low-and middle-income countries and the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections Jay Epstein, W. Martin Smid, Silvano Wendel, Daniel Somuah and Thierry Burnoufnpj Vaccines
  7. Plasma fractionation in countries with limited infrastructure and low-/medium income: How to move forward?Thierry Burnouf, Jean-Claude Faber, Mirjana Radosevic, Hadi Goubran, Jerard SeghatchianTransfusion and Apheresis Science
  8. Recovered plasma for fractionation: call for quality standards to end wastageThierry Burnouf, Jay Epstein, Jean‐Claude FaberVox Sanguinis, 2019 November
  9. Improving haemophilia therapy in developing countries: virus-safe cryoprecipitateJean‐Claude Faber, Jay Epstein, Thierry BurnoufVox Sanguinis, 2019 June


Martin Smid

Martin Smid


Sanquin Blood Supply
Groningen, The Netherlands