More voluntary blood donors needed to reach self-sufficiency

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On World Blood Donor Day, 14 June, WHO calls for all countries to obtain 100% of their supplies of blood and blood products from voluntary unpaid blood donors by 2020.

The need for blood and blood products is increasing every year, and many patients requiring life-saving transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood and blood products.

In 2011, nearly 83 million blood donations were collected worldwide from voluntary unpaid blood donors, an increase of close to 8 million donations from 2004.

France and Sri Lanka, this year and next year's host countries for World Blood Donor Day, are self-sufficient in blood supply through voluntary unpaid blood donation.

Every year, France is able to treat a million patients with around three million units of locally collected blood and blood products. It is one of the 60 countries collecting 100% of its blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors.

World Blood Donor Day, with France as this year's host country, has played a major role in promoting the goal of self-sufficiency in blood supply based on voluntary unpaid donors around the world.

It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid donors who give blood on a regular basis. In this tenth anniversary year, the campaign slogan is: "Give the gift of life: donate blood".

All countries need a regular supply of safe blood. In low-income countries, the biggest demand is for blood transfusions to treat severe anaemia in children under 5 years old, and to manage pregnancy related complications. In high-income countries, transfusions are most commonly used for supportive care in cardiovascular and transplant surgery, massive trauma and cancer treatment.

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