June 13, 2023
World Blood Donor Day 2023: the Value of Blood Donation and Transfusion
Today the world celebrates World Blood Donor Day under the motto ‘Give Blood, Give Plasma, Share Life, Share Often’ and thanks all blood and plasma donors. The European Blood Alliance (EBA), representing public and not-for-profit blood establishments in 25 countries, particularly thanks the more than 15 million donors in Europe whose voluntary unpaid blood donations save lives and enhance social cohesion.
Officially designated as an annual event by the World Health Assembly in 2005, World Blood Donor Day allows us to underline the role every single person can play by giving blood, platelets, or plasma. Each donation is a precious lifesaving gift and repeat donation is the key to building a safe and sustainable blood supply.
Blood donation and transfusion play a vital role in modern medicine, and one blood donation can save as many as three lives. Blood transfusions are essential when dealing with trauma or major surgery, and are often needed in cancer management, or to treat inherited chronic blood diseases such as Thalassaemia. EU Patients need between 67,000 and 70,000 units of blood and blood components every day!
Additionally, donated plasma is a source to produce medicines that are indispensable for the treatment of people with chronic conditions such as primary immunodeficiency, haemophilia and other coagulation disorders, and auto-immune neuropathies.
Nearly 120 million units of blood are donated globally every year, with 25 million units transfused in Europe alone.
Peter O’Leary, Executive Director of EBA notes:
“Today is an opportunity to both thank the wonderful donors and to highlight the need for national health authorities to invest adequate resources into systems and infrastructures to increase the collection of blood and plasma from voluntary unpaid donors, to provide optimal donor care and high-quality blood products in the interests of patients.”
Europe keeps in its collective memory the tragedies of the contaminated blood of last century and has since build a safe blood supply for all Europeans. But Europe can do more and can do even better. A new law (the ‘Substances of Human Origin [SoHO] Regulation’) is currently moving through the legislative pipeline of the European Institutions. This aims to strengthen further the health protection for both donors and patients. A very positive element in the new regulation, key to donor and patient health, is the reaffirming of the principle of voluntary non-remunerated donation, which fundamentally underpins our European Blood services.
EBA once again expresses its gratitude to our donors, whether blood, platelet, plasma, or all three, and acknowledges that blood establishments’ very effective contribution to patient care is down to their selfless, generous donation.