World Blood Donor Day 2007
“Safe Blood for Safe Motherhood”
On 14 June 2007, the global community again celebrated World Blood Donor Day. This day is an annual event officially designated by the World Health Assembly to recognize and thank the millions of people around the world who donate their blood on a voluntary, altruistic unpaid basis to help save the lives and improve the health of others. The day encouraged more people to become voluntary blood donors and underlined the importance of regular donation to prevent blood shortages. It also demonstrated a renewed commitment by policy makers and health professionals to work towards making safe blood transfusion available for all patients who require it as part of their treatment.
This year, the theme of World Blood Donor Day was Safe Blood for Safe Motherhood to highlight the life-saving role of safe blood transfusion in maternal and perinatal care. It also introduced a new WHO initiative to improve the timely availability of safe blood in health facilities providing emergency obstetric care, particularly in countries with high maternal mortality, and measures to reduce unnecessary transfusions. World-wide there are more than 530 000 maternal deaths each year; 99% of them are in developing countries. Around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa, 31% in Asia and more than 21% in Latin America and the Caribbean are attributable to haemorrhage. The risk of developing complications due to haemorrhage is further increased in pregnant women with underlying conditions such as anaemia, sepsis, malaria, HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation. Improved access to safe blood transfusion can help to prevent the death and improve the health of millions of women and their newborns and is a vital component of global efforts to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Throughout the world, World Blood Donor Day was the focus of special activities to pay tribute to the millions of people who selflessly donate the life-saving gift of blood. Governments and national blood transfusion services joined hands with national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, voluntary blood donor organizations, community organizations, schools and colleges to mark longer-term campaigns to increase the number of voluntary blood donors who donate blood on a regular basis. Since it was first launched in 2004, World Blood Donor Day has also served as a platform for broader activities in many countries including the restructuring of national blood transfusion services, the development of legislation on voluntary blood donation and the launch of national guidelines on blood transfusion.
A global event marking World Blood Donor Day 2007 was hosted in Ottawa by Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec in conjunction with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. In Canada, World Blood Donor Day fell within National Blood Donor Week and was celebrated with diverse events in towns and cities across the country.
World Blood Donor Day celebrations are sponsored by four international organizations working to promote voluntary blood donation:
Between them, they represent 193 WHO Member States, 183 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 50 national voluntary blood donor organizations and thousands of blood transfusion specialists throughout the world.