June 14 is celebrated as Blood Donor Day all over the world and June 14-21 as Blood Donor Week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 108 million blood donations are collected worldwide each year. Countries across the world organize events to express gratitude to voluntary unpaid blood donors for gifting blood to save millions of lives. This is also the time to raise awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products. WHO recommends that the availability of safe blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy.

This year, the theme for Blood Donor Day was “Safe Blood for Saving Mothers”. WHO reports that almost 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Severe blood loss is the biggest cause of maternal death.

Safe Blood and Collection

Along with emphasizing the importance of blood transfusion, WHO recommends that all activities related to blood collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution be coordinated at the national level through effective organization and integrated blood supply networks. The national blood system should be governed by national blood policy and legislative framework to promote uniform implementation of standards and consistency in the quality and safety of blood and blood products.

Access to safe and sufficient blood and blood collecting products and the rational and safe use of blood transfusion still remain major challenges in many countries around the world. Blood should be collected safely and easily using quality blood collection needles and other supplies. During blood collection, both patients and health workers are exposed to infection from several pathogens including bloodborne viruses. Modern blood collection sets feature advanced needle-safety technology that has considerably reduced the risk of needlestick injuries. They come with a winged needle with a safety shield and needle protection is activated as the needle is removed from the vein. This provides the needed protection against accidental needlestick injury during routine venipuncture procedures.

This Blood Donor Week, let’s thank blood donors as well as manufacturers of blood collection products that make blood collection safe, easy, and more productive for healthcare professionals.