The need for safe blood is universal. Safe blood is critical both for treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and neonatal care.
But access to safe blood is still a privilege of the few. Most low- and middle-income countries struggle to make safe blood available because donations are low and equipment to test blood is scarce. Globally, 42% of blood is collected in high-income countries, which are home to only 16% of the world’s population.
An adequate supply of safe blood can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. This is why the World Health Assembly in 2005 designated a special day to thank blood donors and encourage more people to give blood freely. World Blood Donor Day takes place every year on 14 June. As well as thanking blood donors, it is a day to raise awareness about the global need for safe blood and how everyone can contribute.But access to safe blood is still a privilege of the few. Most low- and middle-income countries struggle to make safe blood available because donations are low and equipment to test blood is scarce. Globally, 42% of blood is collected in high-income countries, which are home to only 16% of the world’s population.
Stopping donations is not an acceptable action at this time. We must find ways to ensure that blood donations continue uninterrupted and are safe for both the donor and the recipient.”
Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director. (10 Apr 2020)
The campaign theme for this year’s World Blood Donor Day is “Safe blood saves lives” with the slogan “Give blood and make the world a healthier place”. The idea is to focus on the contribution an individual giver can make to improve health for others in the community. Blood donations are needed all over the world to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations. Through the campaign, we call on more people all over the world to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.
The day and the theme are also a call to action for governments, national health authorities and national blood transfusion services to provide adequate resources and put in place systems and infrastructures to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors; to provide quality donor care; to promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood; and to set up systems for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion.