118.4 million blood donations are collected worldwide each year. The World Blood Donor Day is celebrated around the world on June 14 to recognize and thank every blood donor. In 2020, the theme for World Blood Donation Day is ‘Safe blood saves lives’ and the slogan is ‘Give blood and make the world a healthier place’. The campaign aims to encourage and call on more people all over the world to donate blood freely and regularly. It also enlightens people about the global need for safe blood and how everyone can contribute.
Objectives of World Blood Donor Day 2020
The 5 objectives of World Blood Donor Day 2020 campaign are:
- To celebrate and thank people who have donated blood and to inspire others to start donating,
- To highlight the need for donating blood on a regular basis, that would help to build adequate supplies when needed for safe blood transfusion,
- To emphasize the importance of the contribution made by donors which is a critical factor in improving the health of others,
- To show the need for universal access to safe blood transfusion and advocate the role of blood donation in providing health care, and
- To mobilize support at global, national, and local levels to strengthen and sustain national blood programs.
The importance of a blood bank
There are 3 kinds of blood donors – the voluntary unpaid donor who gives blood for storage at a blood bank called the ‘Allogeneic or Homologous Donor’, the family/replacement donor who donates blood for a specific person called ‘Directed Donor’ and third the ‘Paid Donor’ who mostly sells his blood in exchange for money. Out of 171 countries that collect blood, 71 countries (42%) are high-income countries that support just 16% of the world’s population. The remaining countries still don’t have easy and affordable access to blood. Why we need blood banks and blood donors to keep supplying blood is because of these underlying reasons:
- Safe blood is critical both for treatments and urgent medical interventions.
- It helps patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to receive blood transfusions.
- Complex surgical procedures require extra blood.
- Blood is vital for treating the wounded in times of wars, natural disasters, accidents, etc.
- Plays an important life-saving role in maternal and neonatal care.
Which countries have maximum blood donors?
From a survey in 2018, by Statista of more than 23,000 adults across 28 countries, Saudi Arabia emerged as the country where maximum blood donors came forward to donate blood. India ranked second. While 58 % of Saudis said they frequently donate their blood, India’s share was 52% followed by China 40%. Also as per WHO, from 2013 to 2018, blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has increased by 7.8 million. While 79 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; 56 countries still collect 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
Blood Donation in India
In India, the first Blood Bank was started in 1942, at All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Calcutta (West Bengal) by the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS). The country now has over 2,760 licensed blood banks with the largest (308) in Maharashtra.
Besides the local hospitals who have their blood banks, some major Indian blood donations organizations are:
- Indian Red Cross Society
- Rotary Blood Bank
- Lions Blood Bank
- Sankalp India Foundation
- Khoon Organization
- Save Life India
- Think Foundation
- BloodConnect Foundation
- Athar Blood Bank
- Ekam Nyaas
Besides, organizations like Indian Blood Donors, BloodConnect and Friends2Support help to maintain a database of blood donors to facilitate a network between blood donors and organizations/hospitals.
This year on June 14 India will participate in the blood donation drive. However, on account of COVID-19, the Blood Bank mobile blood collection units will be taking extra precautions for the blood donor by using thermal scanners, disinfectant cleaning of couches, gloves, masks, and maintaining 3 metre gap between the two couches.
Though India uses 9 million of the 11 million blood units it collects every year, we still run short by over 2 million units to reach the target of 13.5 million (1% of population mandated by WHO). Interestingly 84% of these blood donations are collected through voluntary non-remunerated donors. India is currently working towards reaching this WHO target by 2020 to achieve 100% self-sufficiency and voluntary blood donation. It is also important that not just quantity by quality blood free from HIV, and Hepatitis B & C is collected. What is equally a daunting task in India is to avoid blood wastage before its expiry date by transferring it from one hospital to another. This makes blood inventory management essential to ensure availability to the right patient, at the right time.
The World Blood Donor Day 2020
International organizations like World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and the International Society of Blood Transfusion, are working in close collaboration to give guidance and support on this Day.
Due to the current corona virus pandemic and with restrictions imposed by various countries, this year WHO will run a global virtual campaign on blood donation. The blood donation drive will call to action governments and health authorities worldwide to provide adequate resources to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. WHO also shares directives on quality donor care, blood transfusions, and the appropriate clinical use of blood. Remember it only takes 10-15 minutes to donate blood. It is a safe procedure. After donating blood, drink water, avoid strenuous exercise and alcohol until a few hours after donation, and wait till at least 56 days to donate blood again.
On World Blood Donor Day June 14, 2020, even if you are unable to step out to donate blood, let the intent stay. When the country gets back to the new normal, go ahead and become a blood donor by just donating 350 ml of your blood.