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Nobody Should Die from a Lack of Blood
But Millions Worldwide Still Do

Turkana Kenya. Credit: Franco Sacchi

Millions die from preventable deaths each year in the world’s

blood deserts: areas with little to no access to lifesaving blood products. Conditions normally treatable with a simple transfusion lead to needless death.

Blood deserts exist all over the world, largely in ​rural areas that are distant from healthcare ​facilities. Every single country in sub-Saharan ​Africa and South Asia has blood deserts.

South Asia Vector Map Divided by States, Regions or Provinces
sri lanka island map

A Bleeding ​Crisis

102 Million

Unit shortage of blood in low and middle income countries (LMICs) across the world

1 out of 4

Maternal deaths in LMICs are as​sociated with post-partum he​morrhage


Trauma mortality in LMICs compared to 1-2% in the United States, the majority due to hemorrhage


of sickle cell anemia patients will die before the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. With timely blood transfusion, this is a treatable condition.

Three strategies offer hope for people

in the world’s blood deserts

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Video Credit:

Fly blood where needed,

when needed.

Drone Blood Delivery

Stick Figure Man Walking
Walking Blood Banks for Adressing Blood Transfusion as a global health issue

Adapt a military innovation to the civilian context.

Walking Blood Banks

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Capture and reinfuse the patient’s own blood.


We believe nobody should ​die from lack of transfusion

The Blood D.E.S.E.R.T. Coalition

(Blood Delivery via Emerging Strategies for Emergency Remote Transfusion Coalition)

is a group of doctors, researchers, patient advocates, and policymakers committed to promoting the research, education, and implementation agenda necessary to eliminate the world’s blood deserts.

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Blood Desert Coalition Research Team and Leaders

Recent News and Publications

“The blood deserts of Bihar ​and implications for ​postpartum hemorrhage ​care” in The Journal of ​AABB, Transfusion

The Lancet Global Health Paper

Read our Consensus Statement Published in The Lancet Global Health

NPR’s Profile on our Work: ​“Here are 3 solutions to get ​blood to folks in 'blood ​deserts.' One is often illegal”

The Guardian’s Coverage ​of Blood Deserts and the ​BDC’s Work in Rural ​Kenya

Read About Blood ​Deserts in the Bulletin of ​the American College of ​Surgeons

Our response in BMJ Global ​Health to the WHO’s Recent ​Framework on Managing ​Blood in Emergency ​Situations

Upcoming Events

Blood Desert Coalition

Blood Desert Coalition Webinar & Live Q+A

September 2024

Check Back Soon ​for Additional ​Updates!

Our Team

Members and Leadership

Chair, Blood D.E.S.E.R.T Coalition

Nakul P. Raykar, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Trauma Surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Fellowship Director, Harvard Medical School Program in Global Surgery and Social Change

Lead, Advocacy & Communications Division

Caroline Wesonga, MSc, MA

National Blood Ambassador for Kenya

Team Lead, Coalition of Blood for Africa and grassroots policy advocate for social inequalities and blood availability

Lead, Drone-Based Blood Delivery Division

Lucy Asamoah-Akuoko, MD, MPH, PhD

Director, Research, Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation; National ​Blood Service Ghana. Principal Investigator of NIH BLOODSAFE in ​Ghana. Director of Research, Development and Projects for the ​Ghana-based Centre for Science and Health Communication

Co-Lead, Defining Blood Deserts Division

Nobhojit Roy, MS, MPH, PhD

General and Trauma Surgeon from Mumbai, India and ​WHO Technical Officer in Operative Care, Clinical ​Services and Systems. Lancet Commissioner in Global ​Surgery and Poverty Commission for NCD Injuries

Co-Lead, Walking Blood Banks Division

Colonel Andrew P. Cap, USA, Ret., MS, MD, Ph​D, FA​CP

Director of Research/Chief Scientific Officer, US Ar​my Institute of Surgical Research; Hematology-Oncolo​gy Consultant to the US Army Surgeon General; Professor ​of Medicine, Uniformed Services Universi​t​y

Co-Lead, Walking Blood Banks Division

Linda S. Barnes, DrPH, MHA

Implementation expert in advanced cellular therapies ​and blood transfusion continuum; Consultant to AABB, ​PAHO and emerging biotherapeutic companies.

Co-Lead, Defining Blood Deserts Division

Meghan Delaney, DO, MPH

Chief of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Division at ​Children’s National Hospital, Professor in the departments of ​Pathology & Pediatrics at The George Washington University, ​Chair of the NIH BLOODSAFE Program

Lead, Intraoperative Autotransfusion Division

Joy Mammen, MD

Professor in Department of Transfusion Medicine at Christian Medical College Vellore, Expert Consultant for National Blood Transfusion Council of India and WHO

Chief Fellow

Nikathan Kumar MD, MS

Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellow at the Harvard ​Medical School Program in Global Surgery and Social Change ​and General Surgery Resident at UCSF East Bay

Liaison, Sisu Global Health

Asma Aliawadh, MBBS, MHM, MIPH

Medical Officer of Health for Langata and Kibera Sub-​Counties in Kenya, Senior Training Consultant and Master ​Trainer with Hemafuse from Sisu Global Health Limited

Juan Carlos Puyana, MD, FRCSC, FACS, FACCP

O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland University of Medicine and Health Sciences; Professor of Trauma Surgery at University of Pittsburgh; Principal Investigator of NIH BLOODSAFE in Kenya

Gatare Swaibu MD

Director of Biomedical Services at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Medical Doctor at Rwandan Ministry of Health

Wendy Williams, JD

Senior Project Manager, Global Surgery, Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Franco Sacchi

Award-winning documentary ​filmmaker and filmmaking educator

Claude Tayou Tagny, MD, MS, MSc

Professor of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine at the University of Yaoundé, head of the hematology and blood transfusion service at Yaoundé University Teaching Hospital

Vijay Anand Ismavel, MS, MCh

Mission Network Consultant at Christian Medical College Vellore, retired Consultant Surgeon with Makunda Christian Hospital and Autotransfusion Pioneer

Dilys Walker, MD

Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Director of Global Health Research for the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Director for the Institute of Global Health Science Center for Global Maternal Newborn Child Health Research at University of California, San Francisco

Gilchrist Lokoel, MPA, MSc

Chief Officer Medical Services, Turkana County, Kenya and previously Medical Superintendent of Lodwar County Referral Hospital

Yetmgeta Eyayou Abdella, MD, MPH

Medical Officer for Blood and other Products of Human Origin at WHO Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean

Marie Paul Nisingwe PhD

University of British Columbia, Canada, Consultant for USAID “Together for Health” Project and World Bank

Blood DESERT Coalition Fellows

Chief Fellow,

Nikathan Kumar


Walking Blood Banks

Lead Fellow,

Riya Sawhney


Priyansh Nathani


Sidra Inam


Marisa DelSignore


Advocacy & Communications

Co-Lead Fellow,

Isita Tripathi


A​yla Gerk


Co-Lead Fellow,

Rahul Burra


Defining Blood Deserts

Lead Fellow,

Siddhesh Zadey


Vanitha Raghuveer


Drone Delivery

Lead Fellow,

Siva Emani


Sargun Virk


Harshit Arora


Intraoperative Autotransfusion

Lead Fellow,

Fleming Mathew


Aulina Chowdhury


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Let’s solve this crisis together.

We can eliminate the world’s blood deserts.

Email Inquiries


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The Systems for Trauma and Blood Research Lab in the Harvard Program for Global Surgery and Social Change

The Blood D.E.S.E.R.T. Coalition was established with generous support from:

Harvard Medical School Blavatnik Institute for Global Health and Social Medicine, Program for Global Surgery and Social Change
The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Foundation for Trauma Innovation in Trauma Surgery and Global Health
Brigham and Women's Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham System of Medicine
Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Academic Collaboration in Policy, Global Health, and Research.