On 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) raises awareness of the need for safe, good quality blood and blood products and honours the many voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
World Blood Donor Day has a further purpose: to create widespread awareness throughout the world about the need for availability and appropriate use of safe blood and blood products, and the need for many more people to make a commitment to regular voluntary unpaid blood donation.
Read: Why I am a blood donor
Established in 2004, World Blood Donor Day falls on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner. Landsteiner discovered the ABO blood group system, which is used today to ensure safety of blood transfusions.
World Blood Donor Day is an annual event that is jointly sponsored by the World Health Organisation. It is one of eight official international public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Prevention of maternal deaths
This year’s campaign “Safe Blood for Saving Mothers” is to develop a strategy to highlight the need for timely access to safe blood in the prevention of maternal deaths. The death of a woman from complications during childbirth continues to be a serious global health challenge. Approximately 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications daily. Just about all of these deaths occur in developing countries.
More than half of them take place 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 death, illness and long-term disability. Largely, it is the most common cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa, 31% in Asia and 21% in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Read: Self-donating blood
The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has dedicated the entire month of June to increase awareness regarding the critical need for timely access to safe blood as part of a comprehensive approach to preventing maternal deaths. Blood transfusion has been identified as one of the nine key life-saving interventions for the management of pregnancy-related complications.
“Childbirth and other gynaecologic complications are amongst the highest demand for blood daily in South Africa.” – Vanessa Raju, SANBS Communication Manager
SANBS encourages people to donate blood regularly and would like to thank the blood donors who sacrifice their time in an effort to save lives of people in need of blood. Get involved. Give blood and participate in local events organised to celebrate Blood Donor Month.
For more information visit: www.SANBS.org.za or call us on 0800 11 90 31
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