World Blood Donor Day 2011

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Friday, 03 June 2011 13:40
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World Blood Donor Day 2011

Celebrating the Gift of Blood –
More Blood Donors, More Healthy Lives 

On 14 June 2011, countries worldwide will celebrate World Blood Donor Day with events to raise awareness of the need for safe blood, blood products, and blood services; as well as to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

The theme for this year for the Region of the Americas is “More Blood Donors, More Healthy Lives”.  This theme reinforces the urgent need for more people to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.  Blood donation saves lives and improves health.  Yet many persons needing safe blood do not have timely access to it and still rely heavily on relatively unsafe family/replacement donors and paid donors. Today, 62 countries have blood transfusion services based entirely on voluntary blood donation, up from 39 in 2002.  In the Region of the Americas only Canada, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Suriname and the United States have 100% voluntary blood donation.

Blood is a national resource.  An investment in safe and adequate supplies of blood is a cost-effective investment in the health and economic wealth of every nation.  Blood donation can be a life-saving intervention, but it may also result in acute or delayed complications and carries the risk of the transmission of infections.  The human costs of unsafe blood are incalculable –– morbidity and mortality resulting from the transfusion of infected blood have far-reaching consequences, not only for the recipients themselves, but also their families, their communities and the wider society. 

The blood supply must be safe, adequate to meet the needs of patient populations, and available to all who require it. There are three types of blood donation: voluntary, unpaid donations; family/replacement donations; and paid donations. A stable base of voluntary unpaid blood donors who give regularly is the foundation of a safe and adequate blood supply.  Donors who give blood voluntarily and for altruistic reasons have the lowest prevalence of HIV, hepatitis viruses and other blood-borne infections, as compared to people who donate for family members or in lieu of payment.  

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization is pleased to collaborate with The National Blood Transfusion Service and the Ministry of Health in its activities recognising the efforts of all those in Jamaica to provide safe blood and blood products.