World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is celebrated each year on June 14 to honor all those who donate the life saving liquid that has no substitute till date—blood. Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and International Society of Blood Transfusion, the day also celebrates the birthday of Nobel Prize winner Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the ABO blood group system. The day stresses the importance of donating blood to be stored in hospitals, clinics and blood banks to meet medical emergencies.
This year’s slogan, “New blood for the world” aims to motivate young people all over the world to become blood donors. Young blood donors will in turn network extensively to encourage other youngsters to donate blood. There is a perennial shortage of blood all over the world because blood can be stored only for a limited period of time before use. In most countries there is more demand than supply of blood due to limited blood donation. Some of the lowest donations recorded in the world recently number less than 10 donations per thousand people. According to WHO statistics 80 countries have recorded low blood donation rates and of these, 79 are developing nations.
The importance of safe blood requirement for blood transfusions can never be overstated—it is in constant demand to save lives and improve health. Critical medical cases that require blood transfusion include, women with pregnancy complications leading to hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth, severely anemic children and adults, people injured in accidents, surgical and cancer patients. People with conditions like thalassemia and sickle cell disease need regular blood transfusions and blood is also used to prepare clotting factors for people with hemophilia.
Myths Preventing Blood Donation
Check some of these common blood donation myths and see if any of these is stopping you from donating blood:
• I am too old
If you are between 17 and 60 and in good health, you are eligible for blood donation
• I will get an infection when they draw my blood
All equipment used to draw blood is sterile and disposable
• I will feel weak if I donate blood
You can get back to your routine immediately. The body recoups or regenerates the blood given in a very short while and you can donate again after 3 months
• I can’t find time to donate blood
You will be asked a few questions and the blood will be drawn in 5 minutes. The entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes
Youngsters, Unite, to Donate Blood
Global launch of the World Blood Donor Day 2010 will take place in Barcelona, Spain and the event is to be hosted by the Spanish and Catalonian Health Care Authorities, the Spanish Red Cross and the Spanish and Catalonian donor associations. Like every year, this year’s event is also designed to support blood transfusion services, blood donor organizations and NGOs, reinforcing blood donor programs and campaigns in every country. Initiatives like the Young Ambassadors’ programs, Club 25, extensive media campaigns targeting young audiences and other youth-oriented activities will hopefully, help infuse the WBDD this year with “new blood.”
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” -Edward Everett Hale
In order to ensure universal access to safe blood and blood products, Youngsters of the world, Unite, to donate blood.