WHO: “Safe blood and blood product play a vital role in saving lives”

WHO: “Safe blood and blood product play a vital role in saving lives”

WHO Representative in Timor-Leste, Arvin Mathur (Photo Tatoli/Francisco Sony)

DILI, 14 june 2022 (TATOLI) – The WHO Representative to Timor-Leste, Arvind Mathur called on the healthy community members to give their blood to save the lives of those in need: “Safe blood and blood products play a vital role in saving lives.”

“Any healthy person, between 17 years to 60 years, who generally is fit, weighs above 45 Kilos should be able to donate blood. You may just need to answer a few questions and a simple medical check-up to test your fitness and you are ready to donate,” Mathur made the call during the celebration of the World Blood Donor Day, in Dili, Timor-Leste, on tuesday.

This year’s theme for World Blood Donor Day is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the efforts and save lives,”

At the celebration, Mathur thanked and acknowledge the generosity of the unpaid voluntary donors who have given their blood to save many lives: “You know blood transfusion is a unique technology based on the scientific process, but the availability of blood depends on extraordinary generosity of people who donate it.”

“Let’s increase the community awareness on the importance of voluntary blood donations, and its impact on saving lives and enhancing solidarity within the communities,” Mathur said.

Every second around the world, there is a person with a critical condition due to an accident or severe anemia or a mother due to pregnancy and childbirth who will need a blood transfusion to survive.

“Blood is an essential component to life as it circulates through our body and delivers essential substances like oxygen and nutrients to our body’s cells,” Mathur emphasized. “Access to safe blood and blood products on time will save lives and improve health outcomes.”

The donation of one unit of blood (450 ml) can potentially save three lives. If one to three percent of the population of any country donates regularly, a country’s requirement of safe blood can be met.

Mathur said the Region requires around 18 million units of blood every year, against the 15.5 million units collected: “In Timor-Leste, this situation is even more serious, with only 23% availability against the estimated WHO standards.”

“This literally means that out of every 100 people requiring blood transfusion, 77 will not be able to get safe blood in time that may lead to serious complications or even deaths,” he stressed.

Around the world, only 73 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors. The most important approach of maintaining adequate blood supplies and timely access to safe blood transfusions in any country.

Mathur said that becoming a regular voluntary blood donor is a simple but selfless step that everyone can take to strengthen their communities, support local health systems, and save lives.

“Let me reiterate that there is no harm when you donate your blood as your blood will get replaced in your body every few weeks-you don’t become weak and you don’t encounter any diseases.”

Mathur reaffirmed WHO commitments to work with National Blood Bank, HNGV, partners like CVTL, and others, to ensure access to safe blood and blood products and call upon that we work to: “Further strengthen the national blood transfusion services; Promote 100% collection of blood from voluntary unpaid donors; Encouraging 100% testing of all donated blood for the main blood borne pathogens; Testing for compatibility and blood grouping, and; Reduction in unnecessary transfusion and promote rational correct clinical use of blood.”

“Together with you, I look to ensure access to the adequate and safe blood supply that meets the needs of patients and communities,” he said.

Mathur said it was important to have an immediate review and revision of the current national blood bank policy for the development of the National Safe Blood Transfusion Policy and Strategy.

“It goes without saying that WHO will extend all technical assistance as I call upon to join hands together to make “access to safe blood” a reality for everyone in need. Let us donate blood- a sign of solidarity and make the world a healthier place,” Mathur concluded.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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