In a ceremony held at the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services, U.S. Ambassador Matthew Harrington launched the new Blood Safety Information System. The system is designed to track information from the point of blood donation, through laboratory testing, processing, storage, and distribution, to use at local hospitals and other health facilities. It strengthens the capacity of health practitioners to manage information related to all blood services, including the exclusion of blood donors based on HIV status, tracking of blood donor results, and improvement of laboratory quality.
The U.S. Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has invested more than $4.9 million in strengthening blood transfusion services in Lesotho. With this support, the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Service (LBTS) has increased collection from 3,000 to 8,500 units of blood annually and significantly improved the quality of blood services in the country.
Ambassador Harrington said at the event, “The Blood Safety Information System plays an essential role in helping Lesotho combat one of its greatest challenges, the scourge of HIV/AIDS. A big congratulations to Lesotho for being the first country in Africa to implement BSIS. Well done!”
The development and launch of the Blood Safety Information System is an example of the successful partnership among multiple local and international entities: the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services, the Ministry of Health, the United States Government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jembi Health Systems in South Africa, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).
The United States government, with the generous support of the American people, has been a major contributor to the HIV/AIDS response in Lesotho, through both multilateral and bilateral channels. Multilaterally, the U.S. government has committed more than $11 billion to the Global Fund, including $1.35 billion this year alone. Bilaterally, U.S. support comes through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Since the outbreak of the epidemic, through PEPFAR, the United States has committed $65 billion globally, including $265 million in Lesotho.
For further information please contact InfoMaseru@state.gov or call +266-2231-2666 ext. 4317.