A US-sponsored blood safety workshop is underway in Can Tho city to strengthen the capacity of laboratory officers and technicians of military hospitals nationwide, the American Embassy said on August 10.

In the three-day workshop, sponsored by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), participants are being trained in practices in international and national standards of blood safety by technical experts from the US Pacific Command (PACOM), the US Armed Forces Research Institute of Medicine Sciences (AFRIMS) and leading military hospital in Vietnam.

The blood safety programme is being conducted by the US Department of Defense and the Military Medicine Department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense at four blood transfusion centres in the military medical system.

PEFAR has supported these centres since 2004 with the upgrading of infrastructure, procurement of new equipment, training of personnel on national blood safety regulation, blood screening, HIV testing and counselling, and routine quality assurance and quality control.

The four centres provide safe blood not only for treating military personnel but also for civilian emergency needs.

The programme overall objective is to collect, screen, and provide safe blood to meet the needs in the region, both military and civilian communities.

Since 2004, the US Government has provided more than 320 million USD to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support activities in Vietnam./.