Overcoming blood shortages to reduce maternal bleeding fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa


The peer reviewed study published on Africa Sanguine finds that expanding investment in safe blood supply to prevent post-partum hemorrhage could provide social benefits as well as substantial economic savings in less than 2 years.
According to the WHO, 810 women around the world die every day from preventable health issues related to pregnancy and childbirth, including sever bleeding. Low resource settings account for 94% of these deaths while sub-Saharan Africa accounts for two-thirds.
Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies (Terumo) announced a first-of-its-kind peer reviewed medical journal published by Africa Sanguine, on the clinical outcomes and economic justification of increasingly pressing blood shortages in Kenya, Ghana and the Ivory Coast yesterday. The findings of the study present a strong argument for investment development in a safe blood supply chain to improve access to blood and blood supplies.
The study was conducted in collaboration with experts in the field of blood transfusion and health economics to illustrate the societal and significant economic benefits of investing in blood transfusion to save the lives of affected mothers in Africa. The study incorporates expert inputs and a novel budget impact model to approximate the value of a life saved with blood transfusion and indicates the economic benefits to investing efficient and sustainable blood supply chain.
According to Dr. Shirley Owusu-Ofori, Transfusion Medicine Specialist and Head of Transfusion Medicine Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana, blood shortage accounts for almost 30% of the total maternal deaths in the region. She highlighted that any intervention to mitigate such quantifies effects could be either expensive or cost effective but effective investments in the blood safety chain in SSA (Kenya, Ghana and Ivory Coast), will address all mortality and morbidity and generate cost savings.
The Terumo study looked at the costs associated with severe maternal bleeding compared with investment costs to adequately manage maternal bleeding. The study reviewed the expenses linked to severe maternal bleeding as compared to investment costs to adequately manage it. The findings estimated that 8500, 3900 and 3600 lives could be saved annually in Kenya, Ghana and Ivory Coast respectively. The total cost to provide adequate blood supply was calculated at around USD $33.7 million and the socio-economic annual value of the lives saved was USD $57 million. The study concluded that the lives saved outweighs the value of the investment made.
“Blood availability is a critical health concern. An increased investment in blood will empower women, reduce inequalities and foster more productive workforces,” said Antoinette Gawin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies. “Saving lives is within our grasp. It requires our collective commitment, expertise and capacity to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to reduce global maternal mortality.”
“Blood availability is a critical health concern,” said Antionette Gawin, President and CEO of Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies. “An increased investment in blood will empower women, reduce inequalities and foster more productive workforces”. She emphasized the importance of collective commitment and capacity to reduce global maternal mortality.
A lack of structured blood supply chains, few blood donations programs and the limited access to health care all contribute to the problem of blood availability. Through the Africa Sanguine published study, Terumo will work to fill the gap in data on the socio-economic outcomes of blood shortage particularly for maternal mortality caused by severe bleeding.