World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on June 14. The day helps raise awareness of the importance of having blood for universal health and the incredible contribution that voluntary donors make. It raises support for organizations and services dedicated to blood donations and transfusions. Each year, millions of people all over the world decide to donate blood and plasma on this day — and the significance of World Blood Donor Day is highlighted this year by the urgent need for blood donations in Ukraine.
World Blood Donor Day is one of eight public health campaigns recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was first acknowledged by the WHO in 2004, and a year later it was declared an international global event at the World Health Assembly. June 14 is the birthday of Karl Landsteiner — the Austrian American immunologist and Nobel Prize winner who distinguished the main blood groups and developed modern blood transfusions.
Information, Guidance and Raising Awareness
World Blood Donor Day is observed by providing information and guidance on blood donations and how individuals can contribute to the ongoing need for clean, healthy blood. Blood drives are set up in various public locations such as schools and workplaces to make the act of donating more convenient and accessible. It provides an opportunity to criticize and demand action from governments and national health authorities to supply better resources for the collection of blood, and access for the people who need it. The WHO has reported that 79 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary donors and that 40% of global blood donations are collected in high-income countries — that make up only 16% of the world’s population. These statistics put a spotlight on the importance of blood donations and access to blood.
Each year, as a part of the campaign, a unique theme is created based on an issue related to blood, and this theme is promoted as a slogan for the campaign. The theme for 2022 is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”.
The Importance of Blood in Ukraine
Safe blood, blood products, and their transfusion are essential to public health. They save millions of lives and improve the quality of life of many patients every day. The need for blood exists in every country; however, as mentioned, access to blood does not. Due to the war in Ukraine, blood donations and supplies are needed more than ever this year. In cities across the country, civilians are lining up to give blood, waiting for their turn outside of hospitals and blood centers. Ukrainian citizens are uniting powerfully and touchingly, to help those affected by the war. In addition to the effort within Ukraine, other countries such as the United States are coming together to raise awareness and donations for Ukraine.
Blood Centers of America, America’s Blood Centers, and Fresenius Kabi (a global health care company that specializes in medicines and medical technologies for infusion and transfusion) have created a campaign to provide blood collection and transfusion supplies to Ukraine. Participating blood centers around the United States will host blood drives and make financial contributions on behalf of people who donate blood, platelets, and plasma. Civilians can also make financial contributions if they wish. The goal of this campaign is to be able to raise at least $250,000, and Fresenius Kabi will match donations made between April 18, 2022, and June 30, 2022, up to that amount. This inspiring initiative will help provide blood and supplies to Ukraine — at a critical time of need.
Ways to Participate in World Blood Donor Day
There are a number of ways to participate in World Blood Donor Day. Giving blood is the goal, but there are additional (and equally important) ways to promote the campaign. Being familiar with facts about donating blood and spreading the word in any possible way, such as social media or word of mouth, is extremely important to the success and turnout of this day. The more people who know about the initiative and its purpose, the more donations there will be. People can also volunteer at an event near them, contribute financially, and follow the campaign for any other ways to help. At the end of the day, a small effort can go a long way for a person in need.