WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 423-431

External quality assessment in blood group serology in the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region

Bureau of Laboratory Quality Standards, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Patravee Soisangwan
Bureau of Laboratory Quality Standards, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.207044

PMID: 28615607

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Background: The quality of blood transfusion services (BTS) is essential for the treatment of patients who need blood or blood products. BTS involve several steps, including the acquisition of the donor’s blood, blood grouping, unexpected antibody screening, blood storage, transfusion, etc. There is a need to check the effectiveness of all elements in the BTS can be assessed and monitored by an external quality assessment. Aim: To assess and evaluate the performance of ABO and Rh(D) blood grouping and unexpected antibody screening of the selected World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region Member country laboratories. Methods: WHO Collaborating Centre on Strengthening Quality of Health Laboratories (Thailand) organized a regional external quality assessment scheme for blood group serology (REQAS-BGS) between 2002 and 2008 for laboratories in countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region. Test items for ABO and Rh(D) blood groupings and unexpected antibody screening and identification were distributed three cycles per year to BTS laboratories in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. By the end of the project, a total of 20 BTS laboratories had participated for differing lengths of time. Results: It was found that 87.5%, 93.3%, 81.3%, 92.3%, 100% and 87.5% of laboratories returned the test results in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. Laboratories with excellent quality or a trend of quality improvement for ABO and Rh(D) blood grouping, unexpected antibody screening and identification during the six years were 60% (12/20), 50% (10/20), 52.9% (9/17) and 81.8% (9/11), respectively. At the initiation of the scheme, most laboratories were using substandard methods for ABO and Rh blood groupings, i.e. performing only direct blood grouping alone but subsequently adopted the standard methods, i.e. performing both direct and reverse blood groupings. Conclusion: REQAS-BGS in South-East Asia countries has been useful for assessing, monitoring and improving the quality of testing. Challenges such as high costs and regulatory requirements for international shipment of blood samples could be solved by amending the regulation(s) for shipment, or establishing a national EQAS.

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