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NEWS | April 21, 2015

Improving Disaster Response through a Reliable Blood Supply

By U.S. Pacific Command

The U.S. military works with Asia-Pacific partner nations to improve Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response capacity by helping ensure a reliable and interoperable blood supply throughout the region.

Since 2009, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Blood Safety Program has worked with civilian and military agencies of partner nations such as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to ensure an adequate response in the event of a disaster.   

The program strives towards ensuring that each nation’s blood supply is safe, sufficient, and uses standardized measures.

To do so, it works with all levels of host nation medical personnel from doctors and nurses to lab technicians and health care administrators.  It does this while encouraging a whole-of- government approach to blood safety and to foster cooperation among partner nations.

The combined effort of the participants focuses on areas such as standardizing procedures for donor selection, collection, infectious screening, compatibility testing, and adverse response to transfusion.

It delves as well into the administration of the blood supply which includes medical equipment and construction of adequate facilities.

The PACOM Blood Safety Program interacts with a variety of organizations, as in Cambodia, where the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the World Health Organization, the Australian Red Cross, and the Global Fund together developed a five-year strategic plan.

Participating nations have already exchanged blood safety officials and discussed possible future cooperation.

There are opportunities to create a voluntary regional accreditation program for blood facilities that could create a standard for other nations and help maintain blood program capacity gains made to date.

Furthermore, Asia-Pacific nations share common challenges to disaster response and could benefit from sharing blood products in times of need.

The commitment of the U.S. and partner nations drives the continued success of the PACOM Blood Safety Program.  Current efforts will be strengthened and replicated through the region.

The PACOM Blood Safety Program is a life-saving initiative for both military and civilian personnel across the Asia-Pacific region.


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