The World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is celebrated every year on June 14 to thank voluntary blood donors for their gift of life. The designation of this special day has the support of all major stakeholders in blood transfusion medicine and blood transfusion services, including the WHO, ISBT, FIODS and the IFRC. The theme of 2015 campaign is “Thank you for saving my life”. It focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and strongly encourages people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”
Since the last few years, this Day is celebrated in Pakistan also by the blood transfusion stakeholders across the country. A series of various activities are conducted in the month of June to acknowledge the sacrifice of the anonymous voluntary donors who donate blood regularly and save countless lives. The impact of these celebrations has resulted in increasing awareness about voluntary blood donations.
Pakistan, along with the other 192 member states, is a signatory to all UN and WHO resolutions passed on blood safety and voluntary blood donation in the last 40 years. Therefore, as a responsible member of the international community, the nation is responsible for implementing these resolutions in earnest. Pakistan has already established a national blood service and is working on strengthening blood safety legislations. Let us today resolve to work towards fulfilling the commitment to having 100% VNRBD by 2020.
The WBDD activities in Pakistan are receiving more and more coverage in the electronic media which is a reflection of the sustained and committed efforts of the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme. This development is very crucial at this stage as we have completed the first phase of the project and the new infrastructure of a network of our Regional Blood Centers supporting the hospital based blood banks is going to be operational soon.
A special feature of this year’s WBDD celebrations was the organization of various thematic competitions to mark the Day, including essay writing competitions and poster contests in which up to 27 academic institutions participated. These competitions were participated by a very large number of spirited youth who got an opportunity to express their talent and gain recognition and at the same time crate awareness about the noble cause. Indeed, the response to these competitions by the young people was truly overwhelming.
Activities related to WBDD 2015 were organized over a 4-week period, including a series of advocacy seminars at prestigious universities (ShifaTameer-e-Millat University; Federal Medical and Dental College; PMAS Arid Agriculture University; College of Medical Laboratory Technology) and major hospitals (Kulsum International Hospital; Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences; Maroof International Hospital; Ali Medical Centre; PNS Hafeez Naval Hospital), cricket match, live interviews on Radio Pakistan and TV channels, as well as live theatre. The Awards Ceremony for the winners of competitions (posters, essays) was held at the Pakistan National Council of Arts with a live stage drama and songs performance by renowned TV artists. These competitions had a broad outreach, with even students from all provinces joining in.
The Programmealso assisted the provincial partners in AJK, KPK, Punjab and Sindh to organize similar activities. A brief report of these provincial events is included in the WBDD Report (available on SBTP website). The coordination with provinces has contributed to conceptual coherence and enhanced visibility to the benefit of blood safety in the country.
The SBT Programme leadership also participated in the global celebrations of the World Blood Donor Day in Shanghai, China from 11th – 15th June, 2015. More than 25 countries and international organizations were invited to these celebrations. This special day provided all partners with a joint platform for a call to action to promote voluntary blood donation and improve service delivery and access to safe blood. A round table discussion with a small group of experts on the ‘Promotion of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation’ was also organized during the celebrations.
Let this year’s World Blood Donor Day celebrations be a big step towards achieving the challenging but very much doable target of 100% voluntary blood donations in Pakistan.