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World Blood Donor Day 2021 |14 June 2021

‘Give blood and keep the world beating’


World Blood Donor Day is marked on June 14 each year. The aim is to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems. The day also provides an opportunity to call to action governments and national health authorities to provide adequate resources and put into place systems and infrastructure to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors.

Safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are a critical aspect of care and public health. They save millions of lives and improve the health and quality of life of many patients every day. The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in developing countries.

To ensure that everyone who needs safe blood has access to it, all countries need voluntary, unpaid donors who give blood regularly. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, despite limited mobility and other challenges, blood donors in many countries have continued to donate blood and plasma to patients who need transfusion. This extraordinary effort during a time of unprecedented crisis highlights the crucial role of well-organised, committed voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors in ensuring a safe and sufficient blood supply during normal and emergency times.


Focus of this year’s campaign

For 2021, the World Blood Donor Day slogan is ‘Give blood and keep the world beating’. The message highlights the essential contribution blood donors make to keeping the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others’ health. It reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health.

A special focus of this year’s campaign will be the role of young people in ensuring a safe blood supply. In many countries, young people have been at the forefront of activities and initiatives aimed at achieving safe blood supplies through voluntary, non-remunerated blood donations. Young people form a large sector of the population in many societies and are generally full of idealism, enthusiasm and creativity.

The specific objectives of this year’s campaign are to: thank blood donors in the world and create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation; promote the community values of blood donation in enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion; encourage youth to embrace the humanitarian call to donate blood and inspire others to do the same and celebrate the potential of youth as partners in promoting health.


Host for World Blood Donor Day 2021 events

Italy will host World Blood Donor Day 2021 through its National Blood Centre. The global event will be held in Rome today, June 14, 2021.


Working together for World Blood Donor Day

Your involvement and support will help to ensure greater impact for World Blood Donor Day 2021, increasing recognition worldwide that giving blood is a life-saving act of solidarity and that services providing safe blood and blood products are an essential element of every health care system. Participation of interested partners is welcome at all levels to make World Blood Donor Day 2021 a global success.


Source: WHO



Who can give blood?


Most people can give blood if they are in good health. There are some basic requirements one needs to fulfill in order to become a blood donor. Below are some basic eligibility guidelines:


You are aged between 18 and 65.

In some countries national legislation permits 16–17 year-olds to donate provided that they fulfil the physical and hematological criteria required and that appropriate consent is obtained.

In some countries, regular donors over the age of 65 may be accepted at the discretion of the responsible physician. The upper age limit in some countries are 60.


You weigh at least 50kg.  

In some countries, donors of whole blood donations should weigh at least 45kg to donate 350 ml ± 10%.


You must be in good health at the time you donate.

You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.

If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure. If the body piercing was performed by a registered health professional and any inflammation has settled completely, you can donate blood after 12 hours.

If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month.

You must not donate blood

If you do not meet the minimum haemoglobin level for blood donation:

A test will be administered at the donation site. In many countries, a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males as the threshold.


Travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus infections, may result in a temporary deferral.

Many countries also implemented the policy to defer blood donors with a history of travel or residence for defined cumulative exposure periods in specified countries or areas, as a measure to reduce the risk of transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) by blood transfusion.


You must not give blood: If you engaged in “at risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months

Individuals with behaviours below will be deferred permanently:

Have ever had a positive test for HIV (Aids virus)

Have ever injected recreational drugs.

In the national blood donor selection guidelines, there are more behaviour eligibility criteria. Criteria could vary in different countries.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Following pregnancy, the deferral period should last as many months as the duration of the pregnancy.

It is not advisable to donate blood while breast-feeding. Following childbirth, the deferral period is at least 9 months (as for pregnancy) and until 3 months after your baby is significantly weaned (i.e. getting most of his/her nutrition from solids or bottle feeding).

More information on eligibility to donate

National eligibility guidelines must be followed when people donate blood in the blood service in specific countries. To find out whether any health conditions, medications, professions or travel history could affect your ability to give blood, please search for detailed information in the national/local blood services.





What happens to donated blood?


Have you ever wondered what happens to the blood you donate? We bring you an explanation given steps by steps by American Red Cross on our blood journeys and tests that ensure our blood supply is as safe as possible and helps as many people as possible.


Step One

The donation


• You arrive for your blood donation appointment.

• Health history and mini physical are completed.

• For a whole blood donation, about 1 pint of blood is collected; several small test tubes of blood are also collected for testing.

• Your donation, test tubes and your donor record are labelled with an identical bar code label.

• Your donation is kept on ice before being taken to a Red Cross centre for processing; the test tubes go to the lab.


Step Two



  • Most whole blood donations are spun in centrifuges to separate it into transfusable components: red cells, platelets, and plasma.
  • Plasma may be processed into components such as cryoprecipitate, which helps control the risk of bleeding by helping blood to clot.
  • Red cells and platelets are leuko-reduced, which means your white cells are removed in order to reduce the possibility of the recipient having a reaction to the transfusion.
  • Each component is packaged as a “unit”, a standardised amount that doctors will use when transfusing a patient.


Step Three



• In parallel with Step 2, your test tubes arrive at a testing laboratory.

• A dozen tests are performed, to establish the blood type and test for infectious diseases.

• Test results are transferred electronically to the processing centre within 24 hours.

• If a test result is positive, your donation will be discarded and you will be notified (all tests results are confidential and are only shared with the donor, except as may be required by law).


Step Four



  • When test results are received, units suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored.
  • Red cells are stored in refrigerators at 6ºC for up to 42 days.
  • Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to five days.
  • Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year.


Step Five



  • Blood is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Hospitals typically keep some blood units on their shelves, but may call for more at any time, such as in case of large scale emergencies.


Step Six



  • An ill or injured patient arrives at a hospital or treatment centre.
  • Physicians determine whether the patient requires a transfusion and, if so, which type.
  • Blood transfusions are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances, including serious injuries (such as in a car crash) surgeries, child birth, anemia, blood disorders, cancer treatments, and many others.
  • A patient suffering from an iron deficiency or anemia may receive red blood cells to increase their hemoglobin and iron levels, improving the amount of oxygen in the body.
  • Patients who are unable to make enough platelets, due to illness or chemotherapy, may receive platelet transfusions to stay healthy.
  • Plasma transfusions are used for patients with liver failure, severe infections, and serious burns.



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