The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised governments, national health authorities and national blood services to collaborate to ensure systems and infrastructure are in place to increase collection of blood from voluntary and regular unpaid donors.
WHO made the call in a statement on Sunday in commemoration of the World Blood Donor Day.
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated annually on June 14 globally, to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.
Theme for the Day is “Safe Blood Saves Lives”.
WHO advised countries to establish and strengthen quality assurance systems for blood and blood products to ensure safe blood and blood products.
The health agency also advised countries to provide quality donor care, promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood, and oversee the whole chain of blood transfusion.
“The need for safe blood is universal. Safe blood is critical both for treatments and urgent interventions.
“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.
“Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds that includes natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and neonatal care,” it said.
According to WHO, access to safe blood is still a privilege of the few.
It noted that most low and middle income countries struggle to make safe blood available, because donations are low and equipment to test blood was scarce.
WHO maintained that globally, 42 per cent of blood was collected in high-income countries, which are home to only 16 per cent of the world’s population.
It stressed that an adequate supply of safe blood could only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors.
“This is why the World Health Assembly in 2005, designated a special day to thank blood donors and encourage more people to give blood freely,” the agency said.
It added that blood donations were needed all over the world to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations.
WHO called on more people all over the world to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.
It said that donating blood takes 15 minutes and saves many lives, can be done by healthy individuals aged 18-65 years old, and weigh at least 50 kg. (NAN)