Save a life by donating blood - World Blood Donor Day 2023

Countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day on 14 June. This day, commemorated annually, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

PICTURE: Pixabay

The theme for 2023 is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.” It focuses on patients requiring life-long transfusion support and underlines the role every single person can play, by giving the valuable gift of blood or plasma. It also highlights the importance of giving blood or plasma regularly to create a safe and sustainable supply of blood and blood products that can be always available, all over the world, so that all patients in need can receive timely treatment.

According to the South African National Blood Service, less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. The SANBS said a unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks.

World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, raised concerns over the low intake of blood donations. Moeti said that countries on the continent are able to collect only 6 units of blood for every 1000 people, which is way below the 33 units of blood per 1000 people collected in developed countries.

‘’Despite the sacrifices of many who donate their blood, countries in the African Region continue to face severe shortages of blood and blood products, resulting, every year, in many avoidable deaths of women, children and people with injuries. Our demand for blood simply greatly outstrips the supply.’’

‘’Financial barrier to accessing safe blood remains a great concern in the African Region. On average, patients pay USD 42 out of their pockets to access safe blood, which adds great strain on their livelihoods and drives many deeper into poverty,’’ she added.

Moeti said countries must address the persistent challenges in the availability of safe blood and blood products, by raising adequate and sustainable funding and increase blood donation rates. She also advised that countries should also continue to build systems and capacities to separate donated blood into its components that can be stored for long term use.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Blood Service has urged donors to donate blood, as the WCBS only has a 2-day supply left in the O-group, B-positive, and A-positive group.

‘’During this month, we try to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation and we celebrate the remarkable act of savings lives,’’ said Marike Carli, Public Relations Manager at WCBS.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 75, weigh 50kg or more, are healthy on the day of donation, lead a safe sexual lifestyle and would like to save three lives in just 30 minutes, you should be able to donate.

To find a closest blood donation clinic, visit the WCBS app or


Done By: Mitchum George


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