Blood transfusion safety

Self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on VNRD

In 2010, the World Health Assembly deliberated on challenges to the availability, safety and quality of blood products and defined self‐sufficiency in the supply of safe blood and blood products based on Voluntary Non-Remunerated Donation (VNRD), and the security of that supply, as important national goals to prevent blood shortages and meet the transfusion requirements of the patient population. Resolution WHA63.12 urged Member States "to take all necessary steps to establish, implement and support nationally‐coordinated, efficiently‐managed and sustainable blood and plasma programmes according to the availability of resources, with the aim of achieving self‐sufficiency".

World Blood Donor Day 2013 – Give the gift of life.
Donate Blood

World Blood Donor Day will be celebrated on 14 June 2013.
The focus for this year’s global campaign – the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day – is Give the gift of life. Donate blood. World Blood Donor Day was instituted by WHO Member States during the 2005 World Health Assembly. It is an opportunity to thank blood donors for their life-saving donations; promote voluntary unpaid blood donation; and convince ministries of health to commit to achieving self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary unpaid blood donation. It is also an occasion to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through the gift of blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, to begin doing so.

WHO Global Forum for Blood Safety and WHO Global Blood Safety Network

WHO Blood Transfusion Safety Programme (WHO/BTS), in collaboration with WHO PAHO/AMRO, WHO/PAHO Country office in Brazil, and with the collaboration and generous support of the Brazilian Government, convened the WHO Global Forum for Blood Safety and Global Blood Safety Network in Florianopolis, Brazil on 6-10 May 2013. WHO has established the global forum and the global network as a mechanism to foster collaboration, enhance communication and information exchange among key international experts, institutions, organizations and other stakeholders working on blood safety issues. The forum and the network meet once in two years to deliberate on specific topic/s relevant to the global blood safety concerns.

Blood Donor Selection: Guidelines on Assessing Donor
Suitability for Blood Donation

Blood transfusion services have the responsibility to collect blood only from donors who are at low risk for any infection that could be transmitted through transfusion and who are unlikely to jeopardize their own health by blood donation. A rigorous process of donor selection, to assess the suitability of prospective donors is therefore essential to protect the safety and sufficiency of the blood supply, and safeguard the health of recipients of transfusion and blood donors themselves, while ensuring that suitable donors are not deferred unnecessarily. The WHO guidelines, Blood donor selection: guidelines on assessing donor suitability for blood donation have been developed to assist blood transfusion services in countries that are establishing or strengthening national blood systems for the selection of blood donors.


The World Health Organization has been at the forefront of the movement to improve global blood safety since 1975 as mandated by successive World Health Assembly resolutions. The objective of the WHO programme on Blood Transfusion Safety is to ensure provision of universal access to safe, quality and efficacious blood and blood products for transfusion, their safe and appropriate use, and also ensuring blood donor and patient safety.

WHO supports its Member States through policy advice and technical guidance, advocacy, mentoring, technical support, technology transfer, capacity building, twinning, networking, and facilitation of bilateral and multilateral funds.

Related information

Related departments

Blood safety in the WHO regional offices