Natinal Blood Transfussion Service
The Tanzania National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is a programme under the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC), mandated to collect blood from voluntary non remunerated blood donors (VNRBDs), processing and distribution of blood to all Hospitals in the country free of charge.
The Programme was established in line with World Health Assembly Resolution WHA 28.72 (1972), which urges all member states including Tanzania to develop comprehensive and well-coordinated blood transfusion services based on voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. Moreover, the need for a comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS prevention necessitated the formulation of the Nationally Coordinated Blood Safety Programme.
NBTS was founded in 2004 through Cooperative Agreement (COAG) between USG and Government of Tanzania (GOT), through support of PEPFAR funding. The first five years COAG which ended in March 2010, focused mainly on emergency establishment of blood transfusion program, while the second five year COAG (2010-
15) is mainly focusing on NBTS strengthening and sustainability which ended in April, 2015 and the GOT took over all operational cost and Human resources management.
Tanzania National Blood Transfusion Service has evolved from a hospital-based system relying on > 80% family replacement donors to a coordinated centralized system based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donors. The youth/students in Tanzania are the most important group of blood donors because they account for 80% of the blood supply.
A sufficient safe blood supply is a key part of an effective health care system and essential for disease prevention, however the majority of Tanzanians do not know the importance of voluntary blood donation. Voluntary Blood donation is a new concept to majority of Tanzanians, hence the need for dissemination of knowledge to the community to raise the awareness on voluntary blood donation and other relevant information regarding blood safety.
In Tanzania, the main consumers of blood collected are children under five years (50.0%), Women during pregnancy and bleeding post-delivery (30.0%), accident victims and surgery (15.0%) and 5.0% by complications caused by cancer and other diseases.
Currently NBTS operates a network of seven blood centers countrywide, namely; Lake Zone (Mwanza), Northern Zone (Moshi), Southern Highland (Mbeya), Western Zone (Tabora), Eastern Zone (Dar es Salaam), Southern Zone (Mtwara) and TPDF (Tanzania People’s Defense Forces) located at Lugalo Military Hospital in Dar es Salaam and satellite blood collection site such as Mnazi mmoja, Dodoma, Morogoro, Kagera, Mara, Kigoma, Iringa and Lindi. Each zone strategically covers 2-3 regions except the TPDF which serves a network of military hospitals in the country. Since its establishment, NBTS has achieved to increase blood collection from Voluntary Non Remunerated Blood Donors (VNRBDs) from 52,000 (2006) to 196,735 units (2017). Blood units collected in 2017 was about 86% of the National blood collection target (230,000 units/year) and managed to reduce HIV among donated blood from 7.0 %( 2006) to 1.9% (2017).