WHO campaigns

World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2013

Give the gift of life: donate blood

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event 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.

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 higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.

However, in many countries, there is not an adequate supply of safe blood, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.

An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020. Today, in just 60 countries, national blood supplies are based on close to 100% voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.

Every blood donation is a gift of life

The focus for this year’s campaign – the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day – is blood donation as a gift that saves lives. WHO encourages all countries to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, to begin doing so.

The objectives of this year’s campaign are to:

  • thank blood donors for their life-saving donations;
  • promote voluntary unpaid blood donation; and
  • convince ministries of health to commit to achieving self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary unpaid blood donation.

The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2013 is France. Through its national blood service, the Etablissement Français du Sang (EFS), France has been promoting voluntary non remunerated blood donation since the 1950s. A global event will be held in Paris on 14 June 2013.

To let us know about your plans for World Blood Donor Day, or for access to our virtual workspace for sharing materials and information relating to voluntary blood donation, contact us at worldblooddonorday@who.int.

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