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World Blood Donor Day: Voluntary Blood Donations Save Lives

World Blood Donor Day highlights the critical need for voluntary donations of blood and blood products around the world.


Voluntary donations of blood donations are critical to the survival of hospital patients worldwide, especially in areas where there are few resources to provide payment for blood donors.   On World Blood Donor Day, events are held around the world to raise awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products, as well as thank blood donors who volunteer their own life-saving gift of blood.


The observance was established in 2003, and has since been held annually on June 14 to honor the birth of Karl Landsteiner, who won the Nobel Prize for establishing the ABO blood group system.


The World Health Organization (WHO)'s goal is for all countries in the world to obtain all their blood supplies from 100% voluntary blood donations by 2020.  So far, just 62 countries have met or come close to that goal, with 40 countries dependent upon family and/or paid blood donations.   Of the 92 million blood donations are collected every year, about half are collected in high-income countries, home to 15% of the world’s population.


The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2014 is "Safe blood for saving mothers".   According to the WHO , every day about 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, including severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth.   Timely access to safe blood and blood products is a critical part of the prevention of maternal deaths.  In other words– blood donors give mothers the gift of life.


What You Can Do

Donate Blood.   In the United States, the American Red Cross is an excellent resource for locating a nearby blood donation center.

Watch and Share this WHO video about "Safe blood for saving mothers":



(updated from an earlier post)