Blood is a life-saving gift. World Blood Donor Day is celebrated annually on June 14 to thank people for donating blood voluntarily and also raise awareness about the need to donate more blood. Testing, donation, collection, storage and distribution of blood is essential. It helps save the lives of people who meet with accidents, get injured in natural disasters or suffer from diseases like anaemia, leukaemia, kidney disease, etc. On World Blood Donor Day 2023, we look at its theme, significance and history.
The day was first observed in 2004 by World Health Organization (WHO). Later, in 2005, at the World Health Assembly, it was declared as a global annual event to celebrate blood donors across the world and raise awareness about the importance of donating blood.
Significance of the day
It is important to get access to safe blood free from infections and diseases to gift someone a new and healthy life. Healthy individuals must donate blood regularly to help save lives and maintain a good supply of blood. People must also donate blood for their personal benefit as it helps in staying healthy by losing excess iron from the body that otherwise can lead to a few health concerns. Besides thanking blood donors across the world, the day seeks to encourage healthy individuals to donate blood regularly to have a smooth supply of blood running. World Blood Day always helps mobilise support at national, regional and global levels.
The WHO has set this year’s theme as ‘Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.’ One of WHO’s statements reads, “It focuses on patients requiring life-long transfusion support and underlines the role every single person can play, by giving the valuable gift of blood or plasma. It also highlights the importance of giving blood or plasma regularly to create a safe and sustainable supply of blood and blood products that can be always available, all over the world, so that all patients in need can receive timely treatment.”
Prerequisites for blood donation
As listed by WHO, here are some basic requirements one needs to fulfil to donate blood.
People between 18 and 65 years of age can donate. This range can vary in countries after approval from physicians.
People weighing at least 50 kg can donate.
You must be in good health at the time you donate. You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.
If you recently got a tattoo or body piercing done, you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure. If the body piercing was performed by a registered health professional and any inflammation has settled completely, you can donate blood after 12 hours.
You must wait for 24 hours before donating blood if you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure; for major work wait a month.
You cannot donate if you don’t meet the minimum haemoglobin level required for blood donation.
You might get temporarily deferred from donation if you travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus.
You must not give blood if you have engaged in “at-risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months.
Those who have ever had a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus), injected recreational drugs too cannot blood.
It is also not advisable to donate blood while breastfeeding. Following childbirth, the deferral period is at least 9 months (as for pregnancy) and until 3 months after your baby is significantly weaned (i.e. getting most of his/her nutrition from solids or bottle feeding).
Your contribution to the day
1. To celebrate the day and raise awareness you can:
2. Participate in social networking campaigns
3. Attend or participate in musical and artistic events to thank blood donors
4. Educate yourself about why you must donate blood
5. Educate and encourage people around you to donate blood
6. Donate blood