Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Kirsti Garlock, (202) 225-5021, June 16, 2006

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Africa Safe Blood Review
Chris Smith Schedules Tuesday Oversight Hearing and Briefing 

BACKGROUND – Sub-Saharan Africa, with just over 10 percent of the world’s population, has access to only 6 percent of the global blood supply.  It is the home of more than 60 percent of all people living with HIV, and experiences a greater prevalence of transfusion-associated hepatitis virus, malaria and syphilis than the industrialized world.  Other factors contribute to a critical lack of a safe and adequate blood supply in African healthcare systems, including deficiencies in basic infrastructure, such as reliable electricity and refrigeration, weakness in the healthcare systems themselves, and inadequate, if any, public policies.  Thus, the people of Africa face the prospect of a medical emergency without the availability of safe blood.  The situation is particularly grave for pregnant women and small children who require blood transfusions to treat maternal complications and malaria anemia.  

The Subcommittee will be examining the extent of the need for safe blood in sub-Saharan Africa and the challenges that U.S. agencies and organizations are facing in attempting to address that need.  It will also explore strategies for providing a safe, sustainable blood supply within African healthcare systems, and the best means for using U.S. financial resources to accomplish that goal.

WHAT:                             Subcommittee Oversight Hearing and Briefing: 
                             Making Safe Blood Available in Africa 
(Note: Briefing will immediately follow hearing)                                           Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
                             U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

WHEN:                             2 p.m.., Tuesday, June 27, 2006

WHERE:                           2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                  Panel I:
                                           The Honorable Chakah Fattah
,
                                           Member of Congress;

                                            Panel II:
                                            Caroline Ryan, M.D.,
                                            Deputy Director for Program Services,
                                            Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator,
                                            U.S. Department of State;

                                            Robert E. Ferris, M.D.
,
                                            Medical Officer, Bureau for Global Health,
                                            U.S. Agency for International Development;

                                            Jerry A. Holmberg, Ph.D.,
                                            Senior Advisor for Blood Policy,
                                            U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;

                                            Panel III:
                                            Ms. Karen Shoos Lipton,
                                           
Chief Executive Officer,
                                            AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks); and

                                            Edward C. Green, Ph.D.,
                                           
Senior Research Scientist,
                                            Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

BRIEFER:                         Neelam Dhingra, M.D.,
                                            Coordinator,
                                            Blood Transfusion Safety,
                                            World Health Organization.

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