World Blood Donor Day aims to garner a broad international support through this year's global theme "100% voluntary non-remunerated donation of blood and blood components." The safest blood donors are the voluntary donors who donate blood on a regular basis and help maintain steady national blood supplies for patients requiring blood transfusion. A worldwide increase in blood donors will also see a corresponding increase in the number of countries producing blood components such as red cells, platelets and plasma for patients' specific requirements.
Specific challenges to be addressed this year include:-
• Countries yet to achieve 100% voluntary blood donation should develop innovative approaches to encourage community participation—especially youth involvement. National blood donation programs should be promoted to increase voluntary blood donation, phase out family/replacement donation and totally eliminate paid donation
• Countries that have already reached 100 percent voluntary blood donation, need to focus on increasing the number of regular donors so that a constant pool of donors will be maintained to meet regular and emergency requirements for blood and blood components in the country
• Countries that are either launching or increasing blood component programs need to build these programs on 100 percent voluntary, non-remunerated donation
• Countries with advanced mechanisms for procuring blood products could support other countries to get enough blood supplies of blood products through voluntary donations. For instance, some countries may opt to commemorate World blood donor day by focussing on self sufficiency through voluntary plasma donationThe four core agencies that together sponsor World Blood Donor Day each year include the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations, International Society of Blood Transfusion and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This year the global event will be held in Australia hosted by the Australian government along with the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
The countdown to World Blood Donor Day 2009 has already seen a spate of promotional pamphlets, slogans, posters and other resource materials designed to raise awareness of the vital role of voluntary, non remunerated donors in healthcare systems all over the world. Blood banks, blood donor organizations and other non governmental organizations world over have begun campaigning to improve and strengthen their voluntary blood donor programs.
As always educational institutions, workplaces, community based organizations promoted by youth and some religious establishments and those sponsored by the Rotary and Lions clubs are proving to be successful in spreading awareness on blood donation and attracting regular, voluntary and unpaid blood donors in many countries.
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow human beings." Herman Melville
So get set to add meaning to your life and World Blood Donor Day by donating blood - the need for which never stops.