The Italian National Blood Centre (CNS) was established in 2007 and is the technical body of the Italian Ministry of Health for all transfusion activities.
Among other things, it coordinates and controls the transfusion system from a technical-scientific point of view to ensure specific goals are reached. These include:
- regional and national self-sufficiency in blood, blood components and blood products
- achieving the highest levels of safety in all processes related to donating and transfusing blood and blood products
- guaranteeing that the transfusion system offers the same conditions throughout the country and complies with European legislation in terms of quality
- continuous development of transfusion medicine
In addition, the CNS promotes multidisciplinary activities aimed at avoiding unnecessary transfusions (Patient Blood Management) and manages the National Registry of Thalassemia and other Haemoglobinopathies.
It recently received the ISO 9001 certification.
In Italy’s transfusion system, self-sufficiency in labile blood components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) and plasma-derived medicinal products is guaranteed through voluntary, periodic, responsible and unpaid donation.
For Italy, self-sufficiency is a strategic goal in both normal conditions and critical circumstances, when unforeseeable factors that compromise the regular collection, production and availability of blood and its components arise. Based on the indications provided by the National Blood Centre and regional coordinating facilities, every year the Ministry of Health issues the National Self-Sufficiency Programme which through the assessment of consumption and needs establishes among other things the production levels required, the resources, the criteria for funding the system, and the import and export levels that may be necessary.
Through continuous interaction with the technical-scientific sector, the CNS:
- conducts research in three major risk areas: transmissible infectious diseases (HBV, HIV, HCV, syphilis, emerging pathogens); transfusion-related immunological damage; human error
- promotes technology assessment programmes on diagnostic methods and external quality audits in blood transfusion services
- develops and applies risk-assessment methodologies for the analysis of adverse events
- implements, along with the other institutional actors involved, specific measures to minimise the impact on the blood system of any epidemics due to emerging or re-emerging viruses (COVID, Chikunghunya, West Nile Disease, Chagas etc.).
The National Blood Centre also actively participates in a number of international projects. At European level, it has contributed to efforts to harmonise European blood policies by participating in projects or joint actions with this specific goal (GAPP and Transpose) and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it collaborated in the Support-e project on convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. It is also active in the field of international cooperation, where, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, volunteer associations and Italian regions, it has launched a number of programmes through which plasma-derived medicinal products in excess of national requirements are donated to countries where there is a shortage of them. To date patients in Armenia, India, Serbia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Albania and El Salvador have benefitted from these programmes.
The Italian National Blood Centre is also a member of the European Blood Alliance (EBA), an association of non-profit Blood Establishments with 26 members across Europe.
For further information please click on the following links
Foreign donors in Italy
GAPP Joint Action