Every year on the 14th of June, the world comes together to celebrate the important contribution of blood donors in countries all around the globe. This year, the World Health Organisation is calling on regular donors and those that have never given before to “give blood and keep the world beating”.
Blood donation is an essential part of health services everywhere as access to safe blood products for transfusions save lives and improve the quality of life for millions of patients every single day. The aim of World Blood Donor Day is to raise awareness of the importance of the contribution of voluntary, unpaid blood donors.
Health services are often confronted with blood shortages – especially in developing countries – making the services of donors more important than ever. However, despite the difficulties experienced over the last 15 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many donors have continued to give blood and save lives.
The World Health Organisation launched World Blood Donor Day during the 58th World Health Assembly in 2005, choosing the birthday of Karl Landsteiner who discovered the ABO blood type system, enabling safer and more efficient blood donations and transfusions.
This year, the World Health Organisation stated in their World Blood Donor Day 2021 announcement: “[The] extraordinary effort during a time of unprecedented crisis highlights the crucial role of well-organized, committed voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors in ensuring a safe and sufficient blood supply during normal and emergency times.”
For this year’s event, there will be a special focus on the contribution of young people to the global blood donation effort. WHO claims that “In many countries, young people have been at the forefront of activities and initiatives aimed at achieving safe blood supplies through voluntary, non-remunerated blood donations.
“Young people form a large sector of the population in many societies and are generally full of idealism, enthusiasm and creativity.”
This year, Italy will host World Blood Donor Day through its National Blood Centre with the annual event hosted in Rome on 14 June.
If you would like to get involved, either to help raise awareness for the importance of blood donation or to donate blood yourself, you can find more information at the WHO website and www.blood.co.uk.