Get the latest information about blood collections and product issues, transfusion-related adverse events, transfusion-transmitted infections and the Lookback Programme, and donor haemovigilance during the 2022 calendar year in this report.

Did you know that haemovigilance is a watchword for blood safety? It refers to the process of continuously monitoring risks from the vein-of-the-donor to the vein-of-the-recipient. This annual report is compiled by the Independent Haemovigilance Committee (IHC) who operate separately from the Blood Services in South Africa. They are able to conduct non-biased analysis of the data in order to provide recommendations for hospitals and blood banks for reducing errors and promoting best transfusion practice.

A major concern highlighted in The South African Haemovigilance Report 2022 is that 30.7% of serious patient adverse events were attributed to the transfusion of the incorrect blood component. Of these, two thirds were due to hospital errors (e.g. crossmatch sample collected from the wrong patient or misidentification when administering the transfusion) and one third occurred due to blood bank errors (e.g. mix up of samples).

A selection of the recommendations from the IHC to improve blood safety include:

  • Wider implementation of a standardised national Adverse Event Report form to improve data collection.
  • Promotion of reporting near miss events in the Blood Bank and wards so as to identify and control risks.
  • Continuous training of hospital and Blood Service staff about correct transfusion procedures so as to prevent errors and serious implications.
  • Creating a culture of caring for patient safety.
  • Educating clinicians about the Lookback Programme and to encourage them to assist in the follow up of patients who have potentially been exposed to unsafe blood.

The South African Haemovigilance Report 2022

For more information about haemovigilance or to request presentations about this topic at your hospital/healthcare facility, contact Dr Caroline Hilton – Lead Medical Consultant (