Evaluation of blood bank practices in Karachi, Pakistan, and the government's response

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: National legislation in Pakistan regulating blood banks has been introduced several times, but has never been passed. To support provincial-level efforts to develop legislation we conducted a study to evaluate blood-banking practices in Karachi, Pakistan, to identify areas that could be improved.Methods: Thirty-seven blood banks were randomly selected from a list of 87 Karachi blood banks. The research team interviewed blood bank personnel, inspected available facilities and equipment, and observed blood collection using structured questionnaires and observation forms.Results: Of the 37 selected facilities, 25 were operational and 24 agreed to participate. Twelve (50%) of the facilities reported regularly utilizing paid blood donors, while only six (25%) activity recruited volunteer donors. During observation only 8% of facilities asked donors about injecting drug use, and none asked donors any questions about high-risk sexual behaviour. While 95% of blood banks had appropriate equipment and reagents to screen for hepatitis B, only 55% could screen for HIV and 23% for hepatitis C. Twenty-nine percent of the facilities were storing blood products outside the WHO recommended temperature limits.IMPLICATIONS: Practices at most Karachi blood banks fell well below WHO standards. Findings from this study were instrumental in developing and passing legislation to regulate blood transfusion throughout Sindh Province, and suggest a method for improving blood transfusion practices in other developing countries.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Health Policy and Planning