World Blood Donor Day
When is World Blood Donor Day?
World Blood Donor Day is a holiday intended to raise awareness about donating blood, as well as thanking current and past donors. Held every year on June 14th, the holiday is observed in multiple countries. It was founded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in hopes of a bigger goal: to rely on 100-percent unpaid blood donations by 2020. While increased awareness has certainly raised the number of blood donations globally, there is still much work to be done to achieve the goal set by WHO.
The first World Blood Donor Day was established in 2004. June 14th was chosen because it was Karl Landsteiner’s birthday. Landsteiner created the ABO grouping system. Not only is the holiday sponsored by WHO, but it is also reliant on promotion from other world agencies, including the: International Society of Blood Transfusion, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations. Together, the four agencies have worked diligently to increase blood donation awareness globally.
This holiday is not meant to replace other blood donation events. Instead, World Blood Donor Day is designed to give the issue recognition at the same time every year as a way for people around the world to catch on and celebrate accordingly. The problem with holding celebrations various times of the year is that many populations are missed, or they forget about the events altogether.
World Blood Donor Day is primarily a holiday of observance. The first issue at stake is the need for blood donations worldwide. Blood shortages are problematic in virtually all nations, but especially in developing countries where clean equipment and sterile practices may be scarce. According to WHO, over 90 million people donate blood every year, but there is still a global shortage. Blood donations are imperative to lifesaving procedures, as well as to help people with certain chronic illnesses live longer. If everyone who is able voluntarily donated blood, there might not be such a shortage.
While World Blood Donor Day provides an opportunity to call to action, blood donors are also celebrated every June 14th. Some cities host events where patients have the opportunity to publicly thank donors for saving their lives. During these events, people may also be able to donate blood through mobile centers.
WHO has set forth a goal for every country that each nation’s blood donors will all accomplish donations voluntarily. While many people already give blood on a voluntary, many countries are forced to pay citizens as an incentive. As of 2013, WHO estimates that only 62 out of over 190 countries collect all blood donations on a voluntary, unpaid basis. The organization hopes that the remaining 130+ countries will all have voluntary blood donations set in place by 2020.
With each World Blood Donor Day held every year, more and more people across the globe are gaining education on the importance of donating blood. Not only is this important in achieving the goal set by WHO, but it is good for the benefit of humanity. Given the scarcity of good blood resources, it is more important than ever that you donate if you are able to do so. The process can help save lives and better the lifestyles of millions globally.
By: Kristeen Cherney