AABB provides technical assistance on blood safety to countries around the world under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a U.S. government initiative launched in 2004 to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS. This work — managed by the association’s International Technical Assistance Division — involves training, development of clinical guidelines and country-specific standards, and outreach to ministries of health. Funded by grants issued by federal agencies, these efforts have yielded measurable improvements in the areas of donor recruitment, screening, collection, testing, storage and distribution systems as well as in the practice of transfusion medicine. During the first phase of PEPFAR, which ran from 2004 to 2009, AABB handled programs in Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. AABB currently manages programs in Angola, Cambodia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe as part of PEPFAR II, which began in 2010.
To make this work possible, AABB has an existing team of consultants and volunteers as well as a growing full-time presence of on-the-ground experts working alongside the nation’s management personnel and staff. The volunteers come through the association’s Ambassador Program, which taps the expertise of AABB members to participate in specific initiatives.