Every single blood or plasma donation is a precious lifesaving gift and regular voluntary unpaid donation is the key to building a safe and sustainable blood supply. Access to a secure blood supply based on the voluntary unpaid donation is vital for all patients including many requiring life-long and regular transfusions for conditions such as sickle-cell anaemia and thalassaemia. Voluntary unpaid plasma donations also play an important part in supporting patients with a wide range of long-term conditions such as haemophilia and immune deficiencies.
However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. Lack access to safe blood and blood products – especially in low- and middle-income countries, impacts on all patients, including those requiring regular transfusion. In many countries, there is also a need to increase the plasma donations to make sufficient plasma protein products available for patients. One of WHO strategies is to assist low- and middle-income countries in the world in improving the availability and quality of human plasma, including optimising the utilisation of the plasma recovered from whole blood donations, and increasing patients’ access to the life-saving plasma protein therapies.
On 14 June 2023, World Blood Donor Day will again be celebrated throughout the world. Officially designated as an annual event by the World Health Assembly in 2005, the Day provides a special opportunity to celebrate and thank voluntary blood donors around the world for their gift of blood and has become a major focus for action towards achieving universal access to safe blood transfusion.