Blood is a vital clinical resource.
Even in the developed world, when needed, there is
generally no manufactured alternative to using human
blood,given by others to help those in need.
Yet globally, there is simply not enough blood to treat sick patients and the blood that is available is too often not safe. Both directly and indirectly this causes unnecessary death and suffering on an unimaginable scale. Two examples illustrate:
- Over 99% of woman who die during pregnancy do so in the developing world. Haemorrhage during delivery accounts for up to a third of these deaths. Sufficient blood is simply not available
- The risk of transmitting HIV through infected blood in the US is only around 1 in 2 million. In the developing world with much higher prevalence but poorer donor selection and testing practices, infected blood has been a significant contributory factor in the rise of HIV/AIDS, resulting in thousands of new infections each year. Safe blood is too often simply not available.