The Blood Cold Chain

This publication aims to provide practical guidance to all those involved in the management of blood programmes. Following an introduction to the blood cold chain management process, seven chapters provide a detailed description of blood bank refrigerators, plasma freezers, platelet agitators, plasma thawing equipment, blood transport boxes and coolants, temperature monitoring devices, as well as other blood cold chain accessories. Each chapter provides WHO minimum performance specifications for the equipment, and selected product information on equipment evaluated by WHO. A specific chapter is dedicated to preventive maintenance and repair of equipment in recognition of a growing problem in developing countries. A final chapter contains practical information, including advice on selecting manufacturers, preparing tender specifications, calculating needs, as well as a series of simple checklists for procuring each item of equipment for the blood cold chain. A pull-out Self Assessment Questionnaire will assist in the development of a standardized inventory of blood cold chain equipment in use at all levels of the health system, which should lead to improved management of procurement, replacement and maintenance of the equipment. The ultimate objective of the WHO Blood Cold Chain Project is to increase the availability of a safe blood supply to all populations, especially those in greatest need.