“Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”

World Health Organisation

 

The 14th June 2015 is World Blood Donor Day. This year, it will be a chance to thank all the voluntary donors who have saved lives over the years, with the theme “Thank you for saving my life.”

 

Blood transfusions save millions of lives every year. They offer a better quality of life to patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, support complex medical procedures and offer a life-saving role in emergency situations, natural disasters, conflict zones and in maternal and child-care.

 

There are over 108 million blood donations every year, and 65% of blood transfusions in low-income countries are given to children under five years of age. In many countries, though, demand still exceeds supply and blood services are always battling to collect enough blood through unpaid, voluntary donors. 40 countries still rely on family and paid donors, but the WHO aims to obtain all of their blood supplies form voluntary donors by 2020.

 

The World Blood Donor Day 2015 campaign will highlight the stories of people whose lives have been saved by these valuable donations, in the hope that even more people can be encouraged to commit to life-saving blood donation. The objectives of this year’s campaign are as follows (courtesy of WHO):

 

  • thank blood donors for their life-saving donations;
  • promote regular voluntary unpaid blood donation;
  • create wider public awareness of the need for regular donation because of the short shelf-life of blood components and to encourage existing and potential donors to donate blood at regular intervals
  • focus attention on donor health and the quality of donor care as critical factors in building donor commitment and a willingness to donate regularly; and
  • persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation of regular voluntary unpaid donors and provide adequate resources to provide quality donor care.

 

Blood donation is a life-giving gift. It doesn’t take long or cost anything, but it can be the difference between life and death. Want to become a donor and help the WHO reach their goal? Click here to find your nearest blood donation centre, watch the video below and read this blood donation factsheet from the WHO to find out more.