World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on 14 June every year, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
With the slogan "Give the gift of life: donate blood", this year’s campaign, the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, will focus on the value of donated blood to the patient, not only in saving life, but also in helping people live longer and more productive lives.
In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under five 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 transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. The need for blood transfusion may arise at any time in both urban and rural areas. The unavailability of blood has led to deaths and many patients suffering from ill-health.
Around 107 million units of blood donations are collected globally every year. Nearly 50% of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to 15% of the world’s population.
An adequate and reliable supply of safe blood can be assured by a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors. Regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors are also the safest group of donors as the prevalence of bloodborne infections is lowest among these donors.
The WHO target is for all countries to obtain 100% of blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by the year 2020.