WHO campaigns

Safe blood for saving mothers

The focus for this year’s campaign is “Safe blood for saving mothers”. The campaign will increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths.

WHO encourages all countries and national and international partners working on blood transfusion and maternal health to develop an activity plan to highlight the need for timely access to safe blood and blood products in the prevention of maternal deaths.

WHO/O. O’Hanlon

Activities may include commemorative events, meetings, publication / dissemination of relevant stories on media outlets, scientific conferences, publication of articles on national, regional and international scientific journals, and other activities that would help in promoting the theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day (WBDD).

Background information

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event raises awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

Every day, about 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Almost all of these deaths occur in developing countries. More than half of them occur in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one third in South Asia. The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years of age.

Severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth is a major cause of mortality, morbidity and long-term disability. However, access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products and the rational and safe use of blood transfusion still remain major challenges in many countries around the world.

The objectives of this year’s global campaign

  • Ministries of health, particularly in countries with high rates of maternal mortality, to take concrete steps towards ensuring that health facilities in their countries improve access to safe blood and blood products from volunteer donors for women giving birth.
  • National blood services in countries with high rates of maternal mortality to focus on safe blood for mothers in their activities and products for the 2014 campaign.
  • Maternal health programmes and partnerships engage in the 2014 campaign.
  • WHO and partners throughout the world highlight how safe blood from voluntary donors can save women’s lives everywhere.

Host for World Blood Donor Day events - Sri Lanka

The global host for the 2014 global WBDD event is Sri Lanka. Through its national blood transfusion service, Sri Lanka has been promoting voluntary unpaid donation to increase access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products. A global event will be held in Colombo on 14 June 2014.

More information

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Countdown to World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2014