Safe blood for all
This year, World Blood Donor Day will once again be celebrated around the world on 14 June. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and also to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products, as an integral part of universal health coverage and a key component of effective health systems.
The theme of this year’s campaign is blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion, as a component of achieving universal health coverage. We have developed the slogan “Safe blood for all” to raise awareness of the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care and the crucial roles that voluntary donations play in achieving the goal of universal health coverage. The theme strongly encourages more people all over the world to become blood donors and donate blood regularly – actions which are key to building a strong foundation of sustainable national blood supplies that are sufficient to meeting the needs of all patients requiring transfusion.
The day and the theme is also a call to action to all governments, national health authorities and national blood services to provide adequate resources and put in place systems and infrastructures to increase collection of blood from voluntary, regular unpaid blood donors; to provide quality donor care; to promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood, and to set up systems for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion.
The objectives of this year’s campaign are:
- to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and to encourage those who have not yet donated blood to start donating;
- to highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion;
- to focus attention on donor health and the quality of donor care as critical factors in building donor commitment and a willingness to donate regularly;
- to demonstrate the need for universal access to safe blood transfusion and provide advocacy on its role in the provision of effective health care and in achieving the goal of universal health coverage;
- to mobilize support at national, regional and global levels among governments and development partners to invest in, strengthen and sustain national blood programmes.
- The world needs enough safe blood for everyone in need.
- Every few seconds, someone, somewhere, needs blood.
- Transfusions of blood and blood products save millions of lives every year.
- Health is a human right; everyone in the world should have access to safe blood transfusions, when and where they need them.
- Regular blood donations are needed all over the world to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products.
- Everyone who can donate blood should consider making regular voluntary, unpaid donations, so that all countries have adequate blood supplies.
- Ensuring the safety and well-being of blood donors is critical; it helps build commitment to regular donations.
- Access to safe blood and blood product is essential for universal health coverage and a key component of effective health systems.
- Blood and blood products are essential to care for:
- women with pregnancy and childbirth associated bleeding;
- children with severe anaemia due to malaria and malnutrition;
- patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune deficiency conditions;
- people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents; and
- patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.
- The need for blood and blood products is universal, but access to safe blood and blood products varies greatly across and within countries.
- In many countries, it is challenging for blood services to make sufficient blood and blood products available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
- Governments, national health authorities and national blood services must work together to:
- ensure systems and infrastructure are in place to increase collection of blood from voluntary, regular unpaid donors;
- establish and strengthen quality assurance systems for blood and blood products to ensure safe blood and blood products;
- provide quality donor care;
- promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood; and
- oversee the whole chain of blood transfusion.
- Become a blood donor today and help save lives.
- Commit to being a regular donor and give blood throughout the year.
- Encourage your friends and family to become regular blood donors.
- Volunteer with the blood service to reach out to members of your community, provide care to donors, and help manage blood donation sessions/drives.
- Find out your blood type and register as a blood donor.
- Participate in local World Blood Donor Day events.
Ministries of Health
- Organize and participate in activities to celebrate World Blood Donor Day, promoting voluntary unpaid blood donation to the public, across government and to other sectors.
- Acknowledge the important role of blood donors in achieving the goal of “safe blood for all” and universal health coverage.
- Provide resources and infrastructure to facilitate voluntary blood donation.
- Support the development of nationally coordinated blood transfusion services that provide equitable access to safe and quality assured blood transfusions for the whole population.
- Put quality assurance systems in place for blood and blood products.
- Download and distribute WHO’s World Blood Donor Day materials to health centres.
- Speak to media about the importance of blood donation and the successes and challenges of your country in meeting national needs for blood.
National blood transfusion services
- Disseminate information about the importance of giving blood.
- Print out and distribute posters that you can download from the World Blood Donor Day campaign web site.
- Organize a World Blood Donor Day celebration. This could include:
- Inviting prominent politicians, celebrities and sporting heroes to participate;
- Producing, displaying and disseminating promotional materials such as t-shirts, caps and stickers. (templates will be provided on the WHO World Blood Donor Day 2019 webpage);
- holding open days at blood centres and inviting the public to learn about blood donation and transfusion; and
- organizing blood drives, highlighting the need for year-round donation to maintain adequate blood supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion.
- Improve the infrastructure for blood donation and blood donor care.
- Focus attention on donor health and care and provide quality service to blood donors.
Most people can give blood if they are in good health. There are some basic requirements one need to fulfill in order to become a blood donor. Below are some basic eligibility guidelines:
You are aged between 18 and 65.
- In some countries national legislation permits 16–17 year-olds to donate provided that they fulfil the physical and hematological criteria required and that appropriate consent is obtained.
- In some countries, regular donors over the age of 65 may be accepted at the discretion of the responsible physician. The upper age limit in some countries are 60.
You weigh at least 50 kg.
- In some countries, donors of whole blood donations should weigh at least 45 kg to donate 350 ml ± 10%.
You must be in good health at the time you donate.
You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.
If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure. If the body piercing was performed by a registered health professional and any inflammation has settled completely, you can donate blood after 12 hours.
If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month.
You must not donate blood If you do not meet the minimum haemoglobin level for blood donation:
- A test will be administered at the donation site. In many countries, a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males as the threshold.
Travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus infections, may result in a temporary deferral.
Many countries also implemented the policy to defer blood donors with a history of travel or residence for defined cumulative exposure periods in specified countries or areas, as a measure to reduce the risk of transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) by blood transfusion.
You must not give blood:
- If you engaged in “at risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months
- Individuals with behaviours below will be deferred permanently:
- Have ever had a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus)
- Have ever injected recreational drugs.
In the national blood donor selection guidelines, there are more behavior eligibility criteria. Criteria could be different in different countries.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Following pregnancy, the deferral period should last as many months as the duration of the pregnancy.
It is not advisable to donate blood while breast-feeding. Following childbirth, the deferral period is at least 9 months (as for pregnancy) and until 3 months after your baby is significantly weaned (i.e. getting most of his/her nutrition from solids or bottle feeding).
More information on eligibility to donate
National eligibility guidelines must be followed when people donate blood in the blood service in specific countries. To find out whether any health conditions, medications, professions or travel history to could affect your ability to give blood, please search for detailed information in the national/local blood services.