World Blood Donor Day takes place on 14 June each year. The Day was created to:
- raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion;
- highlight the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems;
- support national blood transfusion services, blood donor organizations and other nongovernmental organizations in strengthening and expanding their voluntary blood donor programmes by reinforcing national and local campaigns.
The day also provides an opportunity to call to action governments and national health authorities to provide adequate resources to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, unpaid blood donors and to manage access to blood and the transfusion of those who require it.
Who can donate blood?
Most people can give blood if they are in good health. There are some basic requirements one need 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 50 kg.
- In some countries, donors of whole blood donations should weigh at least 45 kg 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 is 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 behavior eligibility criteria. Criteria could be different 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).
The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not. Blood shortages are acute in low- and middle-income countries. Of the 118.5 million blood donations collected globally, 40% of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 16% of the world’s population.
In low- and middle-income countries, women and children are most affected by shortages as they are ones who need blood most. In low-income countries, up to 54 % of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 60 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.
Based on samples of 1000 people, the blood donation rate is 31.5 donations in high-income countries, 16.4 donations in upper-middle-income countries, 6.6 donations in lower-middle-income countries and 5.0 donations in low-income countries.
To ensure that everyone who needs transfusion has access to safe blood, all countries need voluntary, unpaid blood donors who give blood regularly. An increase of 10.7 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2008 to 2018. In total, 79 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 54 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
Only 56 of 171 reporting countries produce plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMP) through the fractionation of plasma collected in the reporting countries. A total of 91 countries reported that all PDMP are imported, 16 countries reported that no PDMP were used during the reporting period, and 8 countries did not respond to the question.
The volume of plasma for fractionation per 1000 population varied considerably between the 45 reporting countries, ranging from 0.1 to 52.6 litres, with a median of 5.2 litres.
Safe blood is essential for helping people of all ages who suffer from diseases, disasters and accidents. Blood donation saves lives and makes one’s community safe. Thank you!
Blood is always needed to save lives and treat people. Show your solidarity to the community and contribute with regular blood donations!
Giving blood is a life-saving act of solidarity with others. Services providing safe blood and blood products are essential for every health care system.
Wide participation of the population and regular blood donations ensure that everyone can access blood when they need it.
All blood donors together provide a precious safeguard for patients and communities.
An enabling social and cultural atmosphere with strong solidarity facilitates the development of an effective blood donor programme.
The act of blood donation helps strengthen social ties and build a supportive community.
- Be a voluntary blood donor and an inspiration to others.
- Commit to being a regular donor and give blood throughout the year.
- Encourage their friends and family to become regular blood donors.
- Volunteer with the blood service to reach out to members of their community, provide care to donors, and help manage blood donation sessions/drives.
- Find out their blood type and register as a blood donor.
- Participate in World Blood Donor Day with their social networks.
Link to World Blood Donor Day site:
Link to questions and answers on blood donation:
Link to WHO fact sheet on blood safety: