Blood transfusion services (BTS) have the responsibility to collect blood only from donors who are at low risk for any infection that could be transmitted through transfusion and who are unlikely to jeopardize their own health by blood donation. A rigorous process to assess the suitability of prospective donors is therefore essential to protect the safety and sufficiency of the blood supply, and safeguard the health of recipients of transfusion and blood donors themselves, while ensuring that suitable donors are not deferred unnecessarily.
These World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, Blood donor selection: guidelines on assessing donor suitability for blood donation have been developed to assist blood transfusion services in countries that are establishing or strengthening national systems for the selection of blood donors . They are designed for use by policy makers in national blood programmes in ministries of health, national advisory bodies such as national blood commissions or councils, and blood transfusion services.
The guidelines are presented in two parts. Part 1 (Sections 2 and 3) addresses the requirements for an effective national system for blood donor selection; policy recommendations are provided on pp. 12. Part 2 provides guidance on specific criteria for blood donor selection in relation to general donor assessment, donor medical history and risk assessment for transfusion-transmissible infections (TTI); technical recommendations on donor selection criteria are summarized on pp. 13-22 and elaborated in Sections 4 to 7.
Blood donor selection: guidelines on assessing donor suitability for blood donation was developed in accordance with the WHO guidelines development process, which requires systematic review of new evidence for key questions and recommendations, as well as a consideration of programme feasibility and the cost implications of potential new recommendations.