June 14, 2013 will herald the tenth anniversary celebration of World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) with a global focus on the theme "Give the gift of life: Donate blood." Sponsored by four core agencies: WHO, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and the International Society of Blood Transfusion, World Blood Donor Day provides a platform to thank regular blood donors, raise awareness of the dire need for safe blood and blood products and to encourage more people to volunteer for blood donation on a regular basis.
All around the world, campaigns and promotional activities in the last 10 years have been geared to promote voluntary, unpaid blood donation from low risk populations and to encourage younger generations of voluntary blood donors in order to maintain supplies of the safest blood possible and save lives. This year the international event will highlight the value of donated blood to patients that not only saves lives, but also helps people live longer and live more productive lives.
AdvertisementLatest Fact Sheet on Blood Safety and Availability
• There are around 92 million blood donations every year and 50% of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries that have only 15% of the world's population.
• Around 8000 blood centers in 159 countries report on blood donations. On an average, annual blood donations per blood center in high-income countries is 30 000 versus 3700 in countries with low income.
• Only 62 countries have national blood supplies entirely from voluntary, unpaid blood donations. The WHO goal is for all countries to collect all blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020.
• 39 countries in the list were unable to screen all blood donations for one or more of these transfusion-transmissible infections: HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis.
• 106 countries have national guidelines for appropriate clinical use of blood. Only 13% of low-income countries have a national hemovigilance system to monitor and improve safe blood transfusion.
International Campaign for Blood Donation
The global event for this year's World Blood Donor Day will be held in Paris, France, on 14 June 2013 with the French national blood service hosting the gala event. In the run up to the big day, the World Health Organization has designed promotional materials such as T shirts, gift tags, mugs, caps, bumper stickers and pens, with files available for download in different language versions. Hospitals, blood banks, blood donor organizations and several NGOs all around the world have arranged for poster contests, soccer matches, concerts and mobile blood donation clinics to motivate more people to donate blood.
Why Donate Blood?
Some of us donate blood because a friend or a relative needs it on a medical emergency, while some of us are part of a voluntary program that encourages blood donation on a regular basis because it is the right thing to do. Whatever the reason, voluntary, unpaid blood donation is important because it ensures a healthy and reliable blood supply which is in constant demand around the world for increasingly sophisticated clinical procedures.
The blood we donate can be used in safe blood transfusions to save severely anemic women and children, accident victims with excessive blood loss, surgical and cancer patients, people suffering from thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and similar blood disorders, who need blood for routine transfusions and to make clotting factors to keep them alive.
Many people are scared to donate blood for the first time. It is just like a pinprick and soon after you donate blood, your body will start replacing the blood you donated. Some people excuse themselves from donating blood saying they are extremely busy. Remember, that by spending ten minutes or less for donating blood, you can gift an entire lifetime to a patient in urgent need of that blood transfusion.
Donate blood today. You'll feel good knowing you've done your bit to help change a life.