An awards ceremony in honor of World Blood Donors Day was held at the PAHO/WHO Guyana country office on 14 June 2012. Dr. Beverley Barnett,PAHO/WHO Country Representative, in her remarks stated that in Guyana, data from 2009 indicated that blood availability increased from 56.56 units per 10,000 inhabitants in 2003 to 98.44 units per 10,000 inhabitants; however, this is still considered low. Country-wide figures on blood availability obscure the variations in-country for access to blood for transfusions and it is known from media and other reports that sometimes, this life-saving commodity is not available in time of immediate need, resulting in patients having to be transferred to higher level facilities such as the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
She further said, it was evident that more efficient blood collection systems will result in immediate increases in blood availability. Efficient and effective collection and distribution of blood for transfusion can only be done after a precise estimate of the requirement for blood is estimated in each hospital or health care facility, and to ensure the availability of adequate blood for transfusion for pregnant women.
In closing, Dr. Barnett gave the assurance that, PAHO/WHO in Guyana will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) to provide training in the determination of the annual requirements of blood that should be available for transfusion to pregnant women, thus reducing maternal mortality. Training was completed in November 2011 for national and regional health personnel on estimating the need for blood and blood components at public and private hospitals, and a follow-up training will be done in August 2012. The Organization also supported the printed of materials to raise awareness of blood donation in Guyana.
Mr. Ron Robinson and Mr. Leo Sawh, who donated 110 units and 100 units of blood respectively, were honored at the awards ceremony for their invaluable and selfless contributions of blood donated to the National Blood Bank.
On 14 June 2012, World Blood Donor Day will be marked with events around the world to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank all voluntary unpaid donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
The transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help improve life expectancy and the quality of life for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. In many countries, demand outstrips supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. Today, in 62 countries, national blood supplies are based on 100% (or more than 99.9%) voluntary unpaid blood donation. However, 40 countries still depend on family donors and even paid donors and collect less than 25% of their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donors. The goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) is for all countries to obtain their blood supplies entirely from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020.
Every Blood Donor is a Hero
The theme of the 2012 World Blood Donor Day campaign, “Every blood donor is a hero” focuses on the idea that every one of us can become a hero by giving blood. While recognizing the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, the theme also strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.
The objectives of this year’s campaign are to:
• thank and reinforce the self-esteem of those who give blood so they continue to do so regularly;
• inspire those who do not give blood but are in good health to start donating blood;
• encourage blood service staff to recognize blood donors for their “heroic” act each and every time they donate blood; and
• persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation of blood donors and provide adequate resources to move towards 100% voluntary unpaid blood donation.
Everyday heroes respond to an immediate need for blood for transfusion, whatever the conditions, even when it may be inconvenient, putting the needs of others above their own. Voluntary blood donors come from all walks of life, all regions, backgrounds, religions and ages. By choosing to donate blood of their own free will, without any payment, these individuals perform a “heroic” act, a gesture of human solidarity with the power to save lives. Some of them do so many times over several decades.
The 2012 theme also resonates widely in relation to other everyday “heroes” – such as fire fighters, police men and women, rescue workers, civic leaders, and “champions” of social causes and community improvement. This may provide opportunities for powerful connections of people and stories around World Blood Donor Day. For example, as the world’s attention turns to the London Olympics in July 2012.
Working together for World Blood Donor Day
Your involvement and support will help to ensure a wide impact for World Blood Donor Day 2012, increasing recognition worldwide that giving blood is a heroic life-saving act of solidarity. The enthusiasm and participation of interested partners is welcomed at all levels to make World Blood Donor Day a success. International organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations, the International Society of Blood Transfusion, the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, American Association of Blood Bank (AABB) and others continue to work in close collaboration to provide guidance and support to their membership in this endeavor.
We also recommend that you join the WHO World Blood Donor Day Global Network, a virtual space for sharing materials and information related to voluntary blood donation. We look forward to expanding this network in 2012 and beyond.
We look forward to your participation in celebrating World Blood Donor Day 2012.
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