Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies has announced the publication of study results from a study by Africa Sanguine, a peer-reviewed medical journal. The results from the Terumo study show the expected clinical outcomes and economic justification of overcoming blood shortages in Kenya, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every day, 810 women die globally (295,000 annually) from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Of these deaths, 94% occur in low-resource settings and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for approximately two-thirds. Severe bleeding is one of the main preventable complications in SSA, causing up to 44% of maternal deaths, and the need for blood continues to outstrip supply.

The study was conducted in collaboration with experts in blood transfusion and health economics. It demonstrates societal and substantial economic benefits for countries investing in blood transfusion to save the lives of African mothers impacted by maternal bleeding. The study includes a targeted literature review, clinical expert inputs and a budget impact model. These estimate the value of a life saved with blood transfusion and quantify the economic benefits to investing in an adequate, safe and sustainable blood supply.

“Maternal mortality is a ‘homewrecker’ and a ‘national disaster.’ The study details that nearly 30% of maternal deaths are attributable to blood shortage. Any intervention to mitigate such quantified effects may be either expensive or cost-effective. We demonstrate that improving blood availability in SSA (Kenya, Ghana and Ivory Coast) by substantially investing in the blood safety chain will address all mortality and morbidity and ultimately yield cost savings,” said Dr. Shirley Owusu-Ofori, Transfusion Medicine Specialist and Head of Transfusion Medicine Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana.

Key highlights form the Terumo Study

  • The study validated the number of lives that could be saved per year in Kenya (8,503), Ghana (3,902) and Ivory Coast (3,618).
  • The estimated total socio-economic yearly value of these lives was found to be approximately Ksh. 6.2 billion (USD $57 million).
  • The total cost to provide adequate blood supply, which is calculated at 13 units per patient, was approximately Ksh. 3.7 billion (USD $33.7 million). This means that Ksh. 2.5 billion (USD $23 million) could be saved by providing blood transfusions in post-partum hemorrhage (PPH).
  • The cost of saved lives outweighs the investment in the supply of blood with cost savings. This conclusion takes the income levels of Kenya, Ghana and Ivory Coast into account.

“Blood availability is a critical health concern. An increased investment in blood will empower women, reduce inequalities and foster more productive workforces,” said Antoinette Gawin, President and CEO Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies.

The contributing factors of blood availability include a lack of structured blood supply chains, few blood donation programs and the limited access to healthcare, especially in rural areas. Terumo has undertaken the study to bridge the current gap in data on the impact of blood shortage on socio-economic outcomes and mortality, specifically for maternal mortality due to severe bleeding.