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Association Of Donor Recruitment Professionals Support World Blood Donor Day

Armen Hareyan's picture

World Blood Donor Day

The Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals and AABB will join several international organizations in celebrating World Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2007.

"World Blood Donor Day seeks to raise awareness of the ongoing need for blood and to thank those who give blood regularly on a voluntary, unpaid basis," said Karen Shoos Lipton, chief executive officer of AABB. "This important day, the birthday of Karl Landsteiner who discovered the ABO blood group, provides us with an opportunity to encourage individuals to become life long blood donors."

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ADRP and AABB, whose members include individuals and institutions located throughout the world, also support World Blood Donor Day as a way to draw attention to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the world's population does not have access to safe blood. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 million units of blood are donated every year, but only 38 percent are collected in developing countries where 82 percent of the global population lives. Some 60 percent of the world's blood supply goes to 18 percent of the population. There is a serious disparity among countries when it comes to both the availability and safety of blood.

"The chance of a person receiving a safe transfusion varies enormously from one country to another and depends largely on whether there is a quality blood donor program in place," said Sue Churchill, former ADRP president who serves as ADRP's representative on AABB's Donor Recruitment/Public Relations (DR/PR) Committee. "We are fortunate to have a well-defined transfusion medicine system here in the United States, and we are very grateful to the eight million volunteer blood donors who help to ensure that blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed."

Blood is needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities to care for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident and trauma victims. As additional donor restrictions are implemented and the population ages, the U.S. and other countries could lose more and more willing donors, which could cause an even greater threat to our global blood supply.

While the need for blood is universal, access to blood for those who need it is not. According to the four key partners of World Blood Donor Day (World Health Organization, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and International Society of Blood Transfusion), women and children in low-income countries have the greatest need for blood. More than half a million women die every year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth -- 99 percent of these deaths happen in developing countries. Hemorrhages account for 25 percent of complications and are the most common cause of maternal death. Up to 70 percent of all blood transfusions in Africa are given to children with severe anemia due to malaria, which accounts for about one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa.

On June 14, ADRP and AABB members from around the world will seek to raise awareness of the need for blood and blood donors.