~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – World Blood Donor Day, 14th June 2015 ~

World Health Organisation – 2015 World Blood Donor Day
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Thank you for saving my life”. It focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.” The campaign aims to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, to begin doing so. Activities may include commemorative events, meetings, publication / dissemination of relevant stories on media outlets, scientific conferences, publication of articles on national, regional and international scientific journals, and other activities that would help in promoting the theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day (WBDD).

Background information –
Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters. However, in many countries, demand exceeds supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020. Today, in just 62 countries, national blood supplies are based on close to 100% voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.

Key facts –
– Of the 108 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in the high-income countries, home to 18% of the world’s population. This shows an increase of almost 25% from 80 million donations collected in 2004.
– In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.
– Blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1000 population; 11.7 donations in middle-income and 3.9 donations in low-income countries.
– An increase of 8.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2004 to 2012. In total, 73 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 72 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
– Only 43 of 156 reporting countries produce plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMP) through the fractionation of plasma collected in the country, whereas the majority of the other 113 countries import PDMP from abroad.

National blood policy and organisation –
Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure. 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.

Blood supply –
About 108 million blood donations are collected worldwide. More than half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 18% of the world’s population. About 10 000 blood centres in 168 countries report collecting a total of 83 million donations. Collections at blood centres vary according to income group. The median annual donations per blood centre are 3100 in the low- and middle-income countries, as compared to 15 000 in the high-income countries. There is a marked difference in the level of access to blood between low- and high-income countries. The whole blood donation rate is an indicator for the general availability of blood in a country. The median blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1000 population. This compares with 11.7 donations in middle-income countries and 3.9 donations in low-income countries. 75 countries report collecting fewer than ten donations per 1 000 population. Of these, 40 countries are in WHO’s African Region, 8 in the Americas, 7 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 6 in Europe, 6 in South-Eastern Asian and 8 in the Western Pacific. All are low- or middle-income countries.

Blood screening –
WHO recommends that all blood donations should be screened for infections prior to use. Screening should be mandatory for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis. Blood screening should be performed according to the quality system requirements.
– 25 countries are not able to screen all donated blood for 1 or more of the above infections.
– Irregular supply of test kits is one of the most commonly reported barriers to screening.
– 97% blood screening laboratories in high-income countries are monitored through external quality assessment schemes, as compared to 33% in middle-income countries and 16% in low-income countries.
– The prevalence of transfusion-transmissible infections (TTI) in blood donations in high-income countries is considerably lower than in low- and middle-income countries.

Who can give blood?
Most people are able to give blood if they:
– Are fit, healthy and not suffering from a cold, flu or other illness at the time of donation or in the previous seven days
Are aged between 16-70 years
– weigh more than 50kg
– Drink up in the 24 hours before donation, especially in warm weather and have at least three good-sized glasses of water/juice in the 3 hours before donating
– Eat something in the 3 hours before donating

All equipment is sterile; needles are used only once and then discarded. In the great majority of donors, a donation of 470mL is less than 10% of your total body volume and may be given safely every 12 weeks.

Please head to Port Moresby General Hospital if you would like to make a generous life-saving blood donation.
Please contact info@portmoresbygeneralhospital.com if you require more information or if you would like to have your company included in this year Corporate Blood Drive.

For more information please head to:
http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/voluntary-blood-donors/en/