Every year, on 14th June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day.
The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in pregnancy and child care as well as man-made and natural disasters.
However, in many countries, demand exceeds supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. The World Health Organisation (WHO) goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020. Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.
The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is “Blood connects us all”. It focuses on thanking blood donors and highlights the dimension of “sharing” and “connection” between blood donors and patients. In addition, the adopted slogan “Share life, give blood”, draws attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one
another and promote community cohesion. The campaign aims to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, to motivate regular blood donors to continue giving blood, and motivate people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people.
The objectives of World Blood Donor Day:
- To encourage all people to strengthen the emergency preparedness of health services in their community by donating blood.
- To engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programmes with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies.
- To promote the inclusion of blood transfusion services in national emergency preparedness and response activities.
- To build wider public awareness of the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve a national self-sufficiency.
- To celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well.
- To promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.