June 12, 2020
On June 14th we celebrate World Blood Donor Day, an occasion that gives us the opportunity to thank blood donors, to raise awareness about the importance of voluntary and non-remunerated blood donations, and to highlight the importance of the need for regular donations, to ensure safe availability of high quality blood and blood products for patients.
EBA wishes to highlight the major contribution blood donors make to improve health for others in the community and is inviting people to become lifesavers by volunteering to donate blood regularly. Blood donations are needed to ensure patients have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency (such as COVID19) situations.
Throughout the current COVID-19 crisis, and despite limited mobility, blood donors have responded in a tremendous way to the continuous patient needs. At this very moment, with an increasing requirement for blood products, the gift of blood is most precious, and we are most grateful to our blood donors.
EBA advocates for voluntary non-remunerated donations as a safe source of blood and blood products. EBA holds donor health and safety to be of equal importance as patient health and safety.
Recognising the value of blood donation in general, EBA also stresses the importance of increasing plasma donation and collection by blood establishments in Europe, in a way that is proportionate to the regional needs. Plasma-derived medicinal products in the European Union rely heavily on plasma collected in the United-States. Increasing use of these products internationally, as well as the risk of unforeseen acute or chronic shortages may indeed result in depriving EU patients of essential medicinal drugs.
EBA calls on EU Member States to increase the collection of plasma by blood establishments via long-term national strategic plans that foster a large donor base without risking the erosion and fragmentation of the one same community-based blood and plasma donor population.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the undeniable importance of plasma donation and collection by blood establishments. In reaction to the hospitals’ needs, they acted diligently and expeditiously developed protocols for the collection and processing of convalescent COVID-19 plasma making donors and blood establishments instrumental in the development of a possible treatment for patients stricken by the infection (more here).
EBA urges national health authorities to invest adequate resources and to put in place systems and infrastructures to increase the collection of blood and plasma from voluntary, non-remunerated donors; to provide optimal donor care and high-quality blood products; and to promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood.
We are most grateful to our blood donors, and it is solely thanks to them that we are able to participate so effectively in patient care, a sentiment so aptly highlighted by WHO in its chosen theme for this year “Safe blood saves lives”.
Pierre Tiberghien, President of EBA – president (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
Catherine Hartmann, Executive Director – c.hartmann (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
Tel: +32 2 8806215