Thursday, June 14 is being globally celebrated as World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The annual event seeks to highlight the growing need for voluntary human blood donations, while simultaneously thanking donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about World Blood Donor Day:
- World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on the birthday anniversary of Nobel Prize winner Karl Landsteiner, who is credited with the discovery of ABO blood group system. His birthday is June 14, 1868.
- The first WBDD was in 2004, which at the time, sought to emphasise the need for safe blood and blood products, as well as thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gift.
- WBDD is one of eight official public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organisation (WHO), along with World AIDS Day, World Health Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Immunisation Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day and World Tuberculosis Day.
- The host country of 2018’s World Blood Donor Day is Greece, through the Hellenic National Blood Centre.
- This year’s theme of WBDD is, ‘Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life’.
- The goal of the WHO is for all member countries to obtain their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020. As of 2014, over 60 countries have their national blood supplied from 99%-100% voluntary donations, with 73 other states still largely dependent on family and paid donors.
- In Jamaica, the government agency tasked with voluntary blood donation activities is the National Blood Transfusion Service.
- Transfusions of blood and blood products helps save hundreds of lives annually. Reserves of blood assists the local health sector with life-threatening instances of shootings, motor vehicle collisions and other critical surgeries and medical procedures.