Support for the reform of the Indian blood transfusion system

Project description

Title: Support for the reform of the Indian blood transfusion system
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: India
Lead executing agency: National AIDS Control Organization, Department for AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Overall term: 2010 to 2011


The transmission of infectious diseases through blood transfusion in India is the third biggest cause of infections. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the supply of blood, blood products and blood components. The blood transfusion system in India is currently fragmented; it has not been standardised and is largely inefficient. As a result the system is ill equipped to ensure access to blood and blood products, nor to guarantee their adequacy, safety and quality. Two major reasons for the deficiencies in the current system are the lack of expertise of trained staff. Most of the blood banks and blood transfusion centres operate in isolation. Many blood banks are hospital-based and often rely on minimal infrastructure and have an inadequate supply of blood. There are also disparities in the amount of blood available in rural and urban areas of India. To establish an effective blood safety system, therefore, an organised structure is needed, as well as standardised processes and procedures.


India's national blood transfusion services have improved, ensuring the population has a safe supply of high-quality blood products and blood components on demand.


The project focuses on advisory and technical services for the Government of India, in particular to the Department of AIDS Control – the National AIDS Control Organization, to help it ensure there is a safe, high quality supply of blood and blood products for the population of India. GIZ is helping the Department of AIDS Control to establish a National Blood Transfusion Authority, which will be responsible for running the whole system. Support is also given for the development of India's first state-owned plasma fractionation centre (PFC) as well as four metro blood banks, which would serve as centres of excellence for the blood transfusion system in India. Furthermore, the project is helping its partners to introduce quality management systems in existing public-sector blood banks, to ensure that their blood supply meets international standards.

The methods being used by GIZ include policy advice, as well as advice on technical and procedural matters, and organisational development. A multi-level approach promotes cooperation, communication and coordination between the national, state and district levels. Development partnerships are encouraged and facilitated between the public and private sectors, and civil society. Using systematic information and knowledge management techniques, the project can ensure that the lessons learned at all levels of intervention are shared and fed back into the formation of national health policies.

Results achieved so far

As this project is still relatively new, it is only possible to describe some interim results here.

  • Plasma fractionation centre (PFC). An action plan has been developed jointly by GIZ and the Department of AIDS Control to make the PFC operational by 2014. This plan is now being used by the Department as a management tool for monitoring progress toward completion of the centre. GIZ has designed a governance and management structure for the process, which the Government of India has since adopted to be the 'Project Management Consultant Group'.
  • Four metro blood banks (centres of excellence). GIZ has made important technical and architectural contributions to the planning of the four metro blood banks, without which their construction would not have been approved. Building work has not yet commenced.
  • Quality management at existing blood banks. A manual on quality management systems has been developed for use in training and capacity development for staff at the existing state-run blood banks. It outlines specific processes that should be adopted in order to raise the quality of the country's blood transfusion services.