Bangkok was the focal point of global celebrations for World Blood Donor Day 2006. For Thais, 2006 has been a special year, being the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne. To commemorate both events, the Thai Red Cross National Blood Centre organized a campaign uniting the two, “Love the King, please donate blood”.

The World Blood Donor Day events were hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Training in Blood Transfusion Medicine, the Thai Red Cross Society National Blood Centre, designated by the Royal Thai government to manage the supply of safe blood for all Thais who need it, and the Ministry of Public Health. The event provided a focus for the world’s media, and helped to publicize events happening at national and community levels throughout the world.

Before the ceremony began, a parade with participants from many countries dressed in national costumes, as well as representatives from government, private sectors, army, police, and students too place in the city. Altogether, more than 3 000 people marched.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who chairs the Thai Red Cross Society, then presided over the ceremony marking the day at Lumpini Park. The opening ceremony was broadcast live during the morning of 14 June. Messages were delivered from representatives of the Thai Red Cross Society, Ministry of Public Health, WHO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations (FIODS), International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) and the Thai Red Cross Committee for Recruitment and Promotion of Voluntary Blood Donors.

A celebration gallery, entitled “Wall of Humanity” displayed photographs of blood donors from many different occupations, designed to promote the World Blood Donor Day slogan “I’m (a teacher/lawyer/builder) and I save lives. The gallery shows famous Thai singer, Tata Young, who was the presenter on the day.

Via the web site, blood donors were invited to give their name, blood group, address and telephone number. The data collected was digitally transformed into blood to fill a huge, virtual blood drop (60 000 000 ml approximately) and all the information collected transferred to a database for blood donor networking purposes. This part of the campaign had the title “Digital gift of blood”.

Other activities during the day included a food fair sponsored by the government and the private sectors and a mobile blood collection session at Lumpini Park.

Just before the main celebrations, a youth leader camp took place on 10-12 June. The aim was to build up networking among the young people from different countries who attended, and to share blood donation activity experiences. The creation of a youth movement will help to achieve the aim of 100% voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors in the region.

Krongthong Phetwong
Chief of Public Relations and Donor Recruitment Section