Since 2014, EMERGENCY has provided vital support to the National Blood Bank (Centre Nationale de Transfusion Sanguine – CNTS) in Bangui. At the request of the World Health Organisation (WHO) we assisted local authorities in reopening the CNTS, the operations of which had be severely curtailed by war.
Ongoing humanitarian crises in the Central African Republic have meant that, even today, morbidity and mortality rates remain unacceptably high. The limited availability of safe blood continues to pose serious risks to the health and wellbeing of the population.
The primary objective of EMERGENCY’s continuing collaboration with the CNTS is to ensure that an integrated and comprehensive service can be relied upon in emergencies. To this end, two laboratory technicians were introduced to the CNTS team, tasked with training local staff in the use of specialised equipment and with improving the efficiency of blood collection and distribution campaigns.
The use of advanced biomedical techniques – such as ELISA assay diagnostic tools and cross-referencing for compatibility – ensures that blood bags are tested according to the highest international standards, thereby ensuring patient safety.
EMERGENCY’s involvement has enabled the CNTS to reorganise, strengthen, and broaden its blood bag distribution network, ensuring that safe blood products are reliably available to hospitals and health centres throughout the country, free of charge. Concurrently, awareness-raising campaigns within local communities explain the critical importance of blood donation and transfusion, and outline how these activities are integral to the management and prevention of blood-borne and sexually transmitted illnesses.
Since the beginning of its collaboration with EMERGENCY, the National Blood Bank has successfully collected and distributed an average of 15,000 – 20,000 blood bags per year. This represents a significant increase. Blood bags are tested and provided to hospitals throughout the country. Almost all blood bags are used in life-saving treatments, and more than half are used to treat children under five years of age.
The capacity of the CNTS has tripled in recent years. During 2013 a total of 6,000 blood bags were collected, while 2018 saw this figure reach 21,200 collections. The facility collects and tests an average of 1,700 bags every month, of which more than 1,350 are distributed to the healthcare facilities that request them.
This project is financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)