20 June 2016
THE World Health Organisation has called for an increase in voluntary and unpaid blood donations to ensure reliable supply of safe blood for patients.
The health body made the call as the world commemorated the World Blood Donor day last week.
â€œAlthough we have many external differences, the same vital blood pumps through all our veins. Voluntary, unpaid blood donation is the act of giving life â€“ the greatest gift any person can give or receive,â€ said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan.
This yearâ€™s commemorations ran under the theme â€œBlood connects us allâ€, highlighting the common bond that all people share in their blood.
According to WHO, About 108 million blood donations are collected globally every year. Nearly 50 percent of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to less than 20 percent of the worldâ€™s population.
The average blood donation rate is more than 9 times greater in high-income countries than in low-income countries.
Dr Chan said because many countries demand exceeds supply, blood services faced the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while ensuring its quality and safety.
World Blood Donor Day has been celebrated annually since 2004, with the aim of improving the safety and adequacy of national blood supplies by promoting a substantial increase in the number of safe, voluntary, unpaid donors who give blood regularly.
According to local health experts, Zimbabwe could be losing lives unnecessarily daily due to the high cost of blood, which remains beyond the reach of many people.
According to the National Blood Services, adults who use 80 percent of the blood from the blood bank are the least in terms of donating blood at 20 percent while school pupils who donate 80 percent of the blood collected in Zimbabwe are the least users at 20 percent
WHO encourages all countries to establish blood services based on full voluntary non-remunerated blood donations.
The health body says today, only 62 countries get close to 100 percent of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 34 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors for more than 75 percent of their blood supply.