The authors trace the history of blood transfusion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as inherited through the colonial organization of the health system. The current configuration of transfusion system begins with the drafting of the national blood transfusion policy and the establishment of a national technical office within the Ministry of Health to coordinate transfusion activities and of its agents in each province. Despite countless difficulties, several positive points were noted. These involve essentially the drafting of all the necessary documents and standards and the integration of the blood safety system into the country's health system. Initially, the blood transfusion system applied a vertical approach, but with the reform of the country's health system, the performance of blood safety became transversal. In the 12 years from 2001 to 2012, it mobilized 112,882 volunteer blood donors; more than 80% of blood products were checked for safety and covered all blood needs; and 81,806 HIV infections were avoided by routine testing of blood products. During the same period, 7560 people were trained in blood transfusion. The prevalence of viral markers among donors has diminished sharply. Thus, HIV prevalence decreased from 4.7% to 2.1% between 2001 and 2012 that of hepatitis B dropped from 7.1% to 3.5% during the same period, and hepatitis C from 11.8% to 2.3% from 2004 to 2012. Despite this performance, enormous efforts are still required, for the organization of blood safety monitoring, the establishment of a safe supply of reagents and supplies, for sustaining the dynamics of voluntary associations of blood donors, and finally for providing stable funding for these blood safety activities.
Keywords: Democratic Republic of Congo; challenges; transfusion.