Safe Blood for Africa Foundation™

Approximately six million blood transfusions are administered to seriously ill patients in Sub-Saharan Africa each year.  This falls short of the estimated need for life saving transfusion in sub-Saharan Africa which is approximately 18 million units of safe blood per year.

Recently WHO (Fact Sheet N°279 June 2017) estimated that:

  • overall, 62% of countries have specific legislation covering the safety and quality of blood for transfusion: 81% of high-income countries, 60% of middle-income countries; and 44% of low-income countries;
  • of 107 million blood donations collected globally, 50% are collected in developed countries – only 15% of the world's population;
  • donation rates are still less than 1% of the population in 77 countries and all are developing and transitional countries;
  • the blood donation rate in high-income countries is 39.2 donations per 1000 population; 12.6 donations in middle-income and 4.0 donations in low-income countries;
  • 75 countries report collecting fewer than 10 donations per 1 000 population and 38 of these are in WHO’s African Region;
  • 5-10 % of HIV/AIDS infections in Africa occur from unsafe blood transfusions;
  • 25% of maternal deaths are attributed to a lack of blood for transfusion;
  • in low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under five years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient is over 65, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions;
  • 15% of child mortality in Africa may be due to the lack of an adequate supply of safe blood for transfusion mostly for under five year olds with acute malaria;
  • donors who repeatedly give blood voluntarily and for altruistic reasons have a lower prevalence of HIV, hepatitis viruses and other blood-borne infections but 71 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 73 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from Family Replacement or Paid donors;
  • 42 countries are not able to screen all blood donations for one or more of the four transfusion-transmissible infections (TTI) (HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis) for which WHO recommends screening as being mandatory;
  • only 47% of blood donations in developing countries are screened following basic quality assurance procedures; and
  • 97% of the blood collected in developed countries and only 28% in developing countries is separated into blood components.

The Safe Blood for Africa Foundation™ (SBFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Foundation which was established in 1999 to assist African countries to achieve a safe and adequate blood supply free of TTI.  In addition, ‘Safe Blood’ requires quality assured testing, correct storage, and safe administration to patients after having been checked for compatibility.

The SBFA provides Technical Assistance in developing National Blood Services, conducting specialist training for Blood Safety Professionals including clinicians, scientific and technical staff, donor recruiters, counsellors and nurses.  The Foundation has funded and participated in numerous programmes promoting Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donation (VNRBD) and has conducted specific training in technical skills such as donor recruitment and management, laboratory management, testing and blood grouping and for the appropriate clinical use of blood.  This is supported by Quality Assurance and Monitoring and Evaluation.

SBFA is currently contracted by The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC – Atlanta, USA), to conduct training in Blood Safety.

Training encompasses:

  • National Policy Development and National Strategic Planning;
  • Quality Assurance Systems;
  • Good Laboratory Practice (GLP);
  • Testing Transfusion Transmissible Infection (TTI) markers;
  • Blood grouping;
  • Blood component production;
  • Compatibility testing;
  • Promotion of Appropriate Clinical use of Blood (ACUB);
  • Donor care, counselling donor sensitivity and donor management training; and
  • Laboratory procurement and construction management.


Promoting the health renewal of Africa through increased access to Safe Blood