First Blood Bank in Pakistan to Receive ‘Affiliate Membership Award’ by the International Society of Blood Transfusion

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First Blood Bank in Pakistan to Receive ‘Affiliate Membership Award’ by the International Society of Blood Transfusion

The Peshawar Regional Blood Centre has achieved an outstanding milestone by being honored with the prestigious “ISBT Affiliate Membership Award” for its exceptional performance, making it the first blood bank in Pakistan.

The International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) is a scientific society comprising transfusion medicine professionals from 103 countries and holds official partnership status with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Non-State Actor.

Notably, this achievement places the Regional Blood Centre (RBC) Peshawar as only the 3rd Blood Bank in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region to receive such recognition while globally it is the 28th blood bank to do so. As the first Blood Bank in Pakistan to receive such esteemed recognition, the RBC Peshawar has not only distinguished itself but has also brought honor to the nation on the international stage. This achievement highlights the Centre’s adherence to global standards of transfusion medicine and its significant contribution to advancing healthcare initiatives.

Talking to our correspon-dent, the Director of the Centre, Dr. Noore Saba, said “We are indebted to Prof. Michael Busch, President ISBT, Dr. Jenny White, ISBT Executive Director, Dr. Eszter Herczenik, Scientific Secretary ISBT, and Mildred Kada, Manager ISBT, for their support and guidance throughout this process of accreditation and affiliate membership. The Peshawar RBC has been working for the last eight years in the public sector and providing safe blood to the citizens of Peshawar. This achievement serves as a testament to the high standard of work undertaken at the RBC Peshawar, reflecting positively on the dedication and proficiency of its team. The recognition is a source of pride for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, underscoring their commitment to advancing healthcare initiatives. Special acknowledgment is due to the efforts of our Chairman, Dr. Jamal Abdul Nasir, and the entire team at the Regional Blood Centre Peshawar for their commendable efforts in attaining this international distinction.” She said that “the RBC Peshawar successfully collected and processed 62,185 blood donations in 2023 and supplied approximately 180,000 units of blood and blood components to patients in need at hospitals and thalassaemia centres in Peshawar.” These stats underscore the remarkable dedication and effort demonstrated by the RBC team in sustaining the success of the Centre.

The Regional Blood Centre Peshawar was established and equipped at a cost of 190.17 million, on an area of 16,686 sq. ft., and was made operational in April 2016. The Centre serves a total population of about 4.26 million of Peshawar city, which is 12% of the provincial population. The Centre is comprised of various sections namely donor management section, infectious screening section, immunohematology section, processing section, quality management/hemovigilance section, and data management/BTMIS section.

Dr. Usman Waheed, former Advisor Blood Transfusion Services at the National Health Ministry, and Co-Chair, ISBT Working Party, congratulated the RBC Peshawar for this remarkable achievement. He said “this recognition from the ISBT is a testament to the exceptional dedication, competence, and unwavering commitment to excellence demonstrated by the entire team of RBC Peshawar. Notably, the diligence and expertise shown by Dr. Jamal Abdul Nasir and Dr. Noor e Saba, have not only elevated the status of the RBC Peshawar but have also set a benchmark for excellence in the field. May the RBC Peshawar continue to inspire and lead in the realm of blood transfusion and healthcare.”

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dedicated to advancing blood safety and enhancing the regulatory standards and service provision in the blood transfusion sector. Aligned with the National Health Vision (2016-25), endorsed by all provinces, there is a collective emphasis on advocating for safe blood transfusions across the province. Since 2008, the provincial government is implementing blood safety reforms project in collaboration with the German Government through GIZ and KfW. This project is now present in the form of Regional Blood Centres, complemented by Hospital Blood Banks (HBBs). In Phase 1, RBC Peshawar was established (2010-16) while in Phase 2, RBCs have been recently established in Swat, D.I. Khan, and Abbottabad (2017-22). Since the establishment of RBC Peshawar in 2016, the province is now well on its way to establishing an internationally recommended blood transfusion system in the region. The new system is gradually replacing and phasing out the current fragmented demand-driven blood transfusion system.