Yongming Zhu hosting the WHO advisory group meeting, discussing the proposal on harmonization of definitions/terminologies used in blood

On March 4, 2022, a group meeting was hosted by WHO AG-BRAS to discuss the proposal on harmonization of definitions/terminologies used in blood. National and regional experts from North America, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, West Pacific, and officials of WHO/BTT attended the meeting. This meeting was hosted by the Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Blood Transfusion Service Prof. Yongming Zhu.

Since the establishment of WHO AG-BRAS, 3 plenary meetings have been hold so far. The members of the advisory group listened to the debriefs given by WHO/BTT and regional offices, then discussed the key agenda in regard to the implementation of WHO 13th general programme of work and WHO action framework to advance universal access to safe, effective and quality-assured blood products. The main task proposed by the advisory group included: (1) collate and update any relevant documents published by WHO; (2) study the strategy to disseminate WHO products, including spread the use of “GBT plus Blood” in blood transfusion area; (3) harmonization of definitions/terminologies used in blood; (4) develop blood supply and support mechanism in time of emergency. Back on this February, a task force was formed by the advisory group to monitor and keep track of the working progress. Prof. Yongming Zhu was the person in charge of the terminology harmonization in the task force.

Over the years, various documents published by WHO including act, guideline, handbook, teaching material and memorandum provide assurance and guidance on the promotion of Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donation (VNRBD), as well as maintain the safety, accessibility and availability of blood. However, some common terminologies (include units) used in documents have inconsistent meaning or definition, which to some extent, compromise the correct apprehension of the document. It is also not uncommon to see the very same terminology being used in published documents and research studies for different purpose. As certain terminologies and units contained in the document do not come with any explanation or interpretation, the meaning of words may need to be guessed based on the context, and sometimes that will result in misinterpretation. Harmonization of definitions/terminologies used in blood is therefore important to promote the quality of information and data, improve analysis and decision-making ability, and facilitate operation of blood transfusion services.

Shanghai Blood Center/WHO Collaborating Centre for Blood Transfusion Service in collaboration with domestic and international organizations and experts, have already started some preliminary work. The advisory group has listened the presentations and preparation reports and go over the goal, outcome and mechanism for current work. Harmonization of definitions/terminologies is a grand project, the meeting helps to sort out the priority and steps in order, and utilize any published documents available. The results will be reviewed in the next meeting (this May).



Reported by Xun Wang

Translated by Hong Liu

Reviewed by Ziyan Zhu