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World Blood Donor Day 2013: How you can help by donating blood

Posted: Thursday, 13 June 2013, New York | Author: World Health Organisation and Department of Management 

This year is the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day. The global event, celebrated annually on 14 June, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. A video message from Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director, PAHO, WHO’s Regional Office for the America, can be viewed here.

Some key facts:

- One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives
- Blood cannot be manufactured – it can ONLY come from Volunteer Donors.
- Blood products are PERISHABLE

* Donated red cells last only 42 DAYS
* Platelets, critical for cancer patients, only have a shelf-life of 5 DAYS
* Plasma can be frozen for 1 YEAR

- Many patients requiring transfusion, particularly in developing countries, DO NOT have timely access to safe blood.
- All over the world, millions of pints of blood is needed EVERY DAY for newborn babies, pregnancy-related complications, patients with severe childhood anaemia, heart surgery patients, transplant patients, surgery patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, cancer patients.etc
- Just ONE single car accident victim can require as many as 100 PINTS of blood.
- Donors can give blood every 56 days. Platelet donors can give every 7 days. 

Transfusion of blood and blood products help save millions of lives every year. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care. However, in many countries, there is not an adequate supply of safe blood, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. Blood is perishable, and an adequate supply for those who critically need it all over the world, can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. In fact, the World Health Organization’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020.

To mark this special day, we invite all UN staff and their families to join in this great celebration by considering giving blood voluntarily and regularly. By doing so, you will help save the lives of people globally through universal access to safe blood.

Blood drives are being organized all around the world, including in the USA, Jamaica, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, Ecuador, Finland and in many other countries. You can search here to discover events planned in your area and how you can participate in giving the gift of life.

At the UN Headquarters, a blood donation drive event will be organized jointly by the UN Medical Services, WHO Office at the UN and the American Red Cross on 14 June 2013, between 10 am and 3 pm, in the lobby (North end) of the Secretariat Building. Please contact msdpublichealth@un.org if you are interested in donating.