Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. 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.
Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.
Slogan: What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often
This year’s campaign will focus on blood donation in emergencies. In crisis or emergency situation, the natural human response is “What can I do? How can I help?”. Therefore, the slogan for the 2017 campaign is: What can you do?, with the secondary message: Give blood. Give now. Give often.
The campaign underlines the role every single person can play in helping others in emergency situations, by giving the valuable gift of blood. It also focuses on the fact that it is important to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is sufficient before an emergency arises.
So with celebrating the World Blood Donor Day, here are a few facts we would like to share:
Fact 1: Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health
Around 112.5 million units of donated blood are collected globally every year. Nearly 47% of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to less than 19% of the world’s population. Many patients requiring transfusion, however, do not have timely access to safe blood and blood products. Every country needs to ensure that supplies of blood and blood products are sufficient and free from HIV, hepatitis viruses and other infections that can be transmitted through transfusion.
Fact 2: Blood transfusions are used to support various treatments
In high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 60 years of age, accounting for up to 79% of all transfusions. The transfusion is commonly used for supportive care in cardiovascular surgery, transplant surgery, massive trauma, and therapy for solid and haematological malignancies. In low- and middle-income countries, it is used more often for management of pregnancy-related complications, childhood malaria complicated by severe anaemia, and trauma-related injuries.
Fact 3 : A single unit of blood can benefit several patients
Separating blood into its various components allows a single unit of blood to benefit several patients and provides a patient only the blood component which is needed. About 97% of the blood collected in high-income countries, 75.5% in middle-income countries and 50% in low-income countries is separated into blood components.
Fact 4: Only type O negative blood can be transfused to blood types
Extremely helpful in emergency situations, this type of blood is called the universal donor blood. This is because O negative blood type has no proteins in its red blood cells, meaning that it can be accepted by everyone with no chances of rejection. This is also the safest for newborn infants. But only 6.6% of the world population has this blood type.
Fact 5: You can donate whole blood or its specific components
There are 4 types of components in blood. These are red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Each of these, except cryoprecipitate can be derived from a unit of blood donated. Since patients in general only need a specific component of blood, potentially, each pint can save 3 lives. The process of donating components is called apheresis.
A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency health care. Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex.
Adequate supply of blood during emergencies requires a well-organized blood service, and this can only be ensured by engaging the entire community and a blood donor population committed to voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the year.
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