Safe blood supplies are a scarce commodity – especially in developing countries. Despite about 108 million yearly blood donations worldwide, safe blood is constantly on high demand!
World Blood Donor Day, celebrated every 14th of June, aims to encourage people to give blood and save lives without asking for anything in return. Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components; cells, platelets and plasma.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these are some key facts on blood availability worldwide:
- Of the 108 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in the high-income countries, home to 18% of the world’s population. This shows an increase of almost 25% from 80 million donations collected in 2004.
- In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.
- Blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1000 population; 11.7 donations in middle-income and 3.9 donations in low-income countries.
- An increase of 8.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2004 to 2012. In total, 73 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 72 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
This year, the WHO and World Blood Donor Day aims to do the following:
- Thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
- Generate public awareness for the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health.
- Promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood.
- Focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply in your community, and globally.
- Persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors, and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.
This June 14th get involved, donate blood- save a life. Follow the link and find a blood drive near you!