World Blood Donor Day
- Of the 117.4 million blood donations collected globally, 42% of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 16% of the world’s population.
- In low-income countries, up to 52% 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 75% of all transfusions.
- Based on samples of 1000 people, the blood donation rate is 32.6 donations in high-income countries, 15.1 donations in upper-middle-income countries, 8.1 donations in lower-middle-income countries and 4.4 donations in low-income countries.
- An increase of 11.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2008 to 2015. In total, 78 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 58 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
- Only 50 of 173 reporting countries produce plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMP) through the fractionation of plasma collected in the reporting country. A total of 83 countries reported that all PDMP are imported, 24 countries reported that no PDMP were used during the reporting period, and 16 countries did not respond to the question.
Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety, and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. 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. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.
- Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health.
- Blood donation does not weaken the body.
- There is no substitute for human blood; the gift of blood is the gift of life.
- Sickle cell patients may require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
- One donation can help save the lives of up to three people
- Platelets help blood clotting, giving those suffering from leukemia and other tumors a chance to live.
- There are approximately 108 million blood donations worldwide.
- In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age.
- In 73 countries, more than 90% of their blood supply is collected from voluntary, unpaid donors.
Objectives of World Blood Donor Day:
- To engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programs with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies.
- Focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation, to come up with a sufficient blood supply.
- To promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood.
- To promote the integration of blood transfusion services into national emergency preparedness and response activities.
- To raise public awareness of the need for regular blood donation throughout the year in order to maintain an adequate supply of blood and achieve self-sufficiency at the national level.
- To make people more aware of the need to donate blood regularly.
- To celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well.
- To promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.
Globally: June 14th,
Objectives of World Blood Donor Day:
- To celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and to encourage those who have not yet donated blood to start donating;
- To raise wider awareness that blood donation is an altruistic action that benefits all of society and that an adequate supply can only be ensured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors;
- To highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve national self-sufficiency of blood;
- To focus attention on blood donation as an expression of community participation in the health system, and the importance of community participation in maintaining sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supplies;
- To promote the community values of blood donation in enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion and in encouraging people to care for one another and build a caring community;
- To promote international collaboration and ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation all over the world.
Who can give blood?
Most people can give blood if they are in good health. There are some basic requirements one need to fulfill in order to become a blood donor. Below are some basic eligibility guidelines:
You are aged between 18 and 65.
- In some countries national legislation permits 16–17 year-olds to donate provided that they fulfil the physical and hematological criteria required and that appropriate consent is obtained.
- In some countries, regular donors over the age of 65 may be accepted at the discretion of the responsible physician. The upper age limit in some countries are 60.
You weigh at least 50 kg.
- In some countries, donors of whole blood donations should weigh at least 45 kg to donate 350 ml ± 10%.
You must be in good health at the time you donate.
You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.
If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure. If the body piercing was performed by a registered health professional and any inflammation has settled completely, you can donate blood after 12 hours.
If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month.
You must not donate blood If you do not meet the minimum haemoglobin level for blood donation:
- A test will be administered at the donation site. In many countries, a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males as the threshold.
Travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus infections, may result in a temporary deferral.
Many countries also implemented the policy to defer blood donors with a history of travel or residence for defined cumulative exposure periods in specified countries or areas, as a measure to reduce the risk of transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) by blood transfusion.
You must not give blood:
- If you engaged in “at risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months
- Individuals with behaviours below will be deferred permanently:
- Have ever had a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus)
- Have ever injected recreational drugs.
In the national blood donor selection guidelines, there are more behavior eligibility criteria. Criteria could be different in different countries.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Following pregnancy, the deferral period should last as many months as the duration of the pregnancy.
It is not advisable to donate blood while breast-feeding. Following childbirth, the deferral period is at least 9 months (as for pregnancy) and until 3 months after your baby is significantly weaned (i.e. getting most of his/her nutrition from solids or bottle feeding).
The risk of transmission of serious infections, including HIV and hepatitis, through unsafe blood and chronic blood shortages brought global attention to the importance of blood safety and availability. With the goal of ensuring universal access to safe blood and blood products, AHO has been at the forefront to improve blood safety and availability, and recommends the following integrated strategy for blood safety and availability:
- Establishment of a national blood system with well-organized and coordinated blood transfusion services, effective evidence-based and ethical national blood policies, and legislation and regulation, that can provide sufficient and timely supplies of safe blood and blood products to meet the transfusion needs of all patients.
- Collection of blood, plasma and other blood components from low-risk, regular, voluntary unpaid donors through the strengthening of donation systems, and effective donor management, including care and counselling.
- Quality-assured screening of all donated blood for transfusion-transmissible infections, including HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis, confirmatory testing of the results of all donors screen-reactive for infection markers, blood grouping and compatibility testing, and systems for processing blood into blood products (blood components for transfusion and plasma derived-medicinal products), as appropriate, to meet health care needs.
- Rational use of blood and blood products to reduce unnecessary transfusions and minimize the risks associated with transfusion, the use of alternatives to transfusion where possible, and safe and good clinical transfusion practices, including patient blood management.
- Step-wise implementation of effective quality systems, including quality management, standards, good manufacturing practices, documentation, training of all staff, and quality assessment.
AHO President Statement in Support of World Blood Donor Day
The world needs enough safe blood for everyone in need. Every few seconds, someone, somewhere needs blood. I am of the believe that giving blood is a fundamental act of love we can take part in. It is an act of selfless service to take care of those around you. Therefore today, on World Blood Donor Day, I would like to thank all voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
I am aware that this year’s theme is, “Safe blood saves lives” with the slogan “Give blood and make the world a healthier place”. The slogan in particular, for me, cements the contribution anyone in good health can make to improve the health of others. Blood transfusions save millions of lives each year, both in emergency and non-emergency situations. Which is why they are an integral part of universal health coverage and a key component of a resilient health system.
Also, as an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), I see the role blood transfusions remaining critical to achieve the health-related SDG 3, specifically target 3.8 which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Blood transfusions can help reduce maternal mortality, prevent epidemics of communicable diseases – think AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria – and combat hepatis. This is by no means an exhaustive. I am simply providing a snapshot of benefits that can result from giving blood – a gesture that every one of us can perform equally well.
In Africa, promisingly, countries have made positive progress regarding the availability and access to safe and quality assured blood and blood components. Unfortunately, however, the demand for blood transfusions are on the rise, causing many patients to face blood shortages. For this reason, I urge countries to support voluntary blood donations as a key component of achieving universal health coverage, and to ensure a sustainable funding for national blood transfusion services.
At AHO, we have developed a Blood, donation & Transplantation Programme. The mission of the Blood Services programme is to cooperate technically with national blood programmes in Africa to ensure that they have sufficient quantities of safe blood to provide timely transfusions to all patients who need them, thus contributing to lower mortality and optimal patient care.
To end, I want to reiterate that health is a human right. Everyone in the world should have access to safe blood transfusions, when and where they need them. So, to all voluntary, unpaid donors, thank you again and please continue this noble gesture. Lastly, I want to congratulate and express my support to all blood donor associations and other nongovernmental organisations who are working to make safe blood available in healthcare facilities.
Join me to use today as a springboard to make access to safe blood a reality for everyone. Safe blood saves lives.
Graciano Masauso, President
Written by Zach Malik