Since 2004, June 14 is celebrated as World Blood Donor Day each year. The day marks the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian physician and biologist who is considered the ‘founder’ of modern blood transfusion.
The Public Health context
The transfusion of blood and blood products help save millions of lives each year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with better higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and in the event of man-made and natural disasters.
However, in many countries, there is an inadequate supply of safe blood, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
An adequate supply of safe blood can only be ensured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors.
The World Health Organization’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors, by 2020.
The objectives of this year’s campaign are:
- to thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood and highlight the theme of blood connecting us all;
- to create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people who are in good health;
- to promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood;
- to focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply; and
- to persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Blood connects us all”. It focuses on thanking blood donors and highlights the dimension of “sharing” and “connection” between blood donors and patients.
The slogan for the 2016 campaign is “Share life, give blood”, to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and promote community cohesion.
Link to the World Blood Donor Day 2016 campaign page:
Link to the fact sheet on blood safety and availability (updated June 2015):
Link to the ‘Campaign essentials’ document (PDF):
Link to page containing visual materials for World Blood Donor Day 2016:
Link to page containing Banners for World Blood Donor Day 2016:
Link to page containing Posters for World Blood Donor Day 2016:
Link to videos ‘blood connects us all’:
Link to quiz on blood donation (PDF):
Link to Question & Answer ‘Why should I donate blood?’: