World Blood Donors Day 2024: 20 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors!

World Blood Donors Day 2024: 20 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors!

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Op-ed by Dr. Arvind Mathur, WHO Representative to Timor-Leste

The most immediate and significant impact of blood donation is its ability to save lives. The 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day is an excellent and timely opportunity for us to thank those who donate blood, voluntarily and unpaid, to give others the gift of life.  Today, WHO, partners and communities unite behind the theme of 20 Years of Celebrating Giving: Thank you blood donors!

I take this excellent and great opportunity to thank blood donors in Timor-Leste for their life saving donations over the years and honour the profound impact this has made on both patients and donors. 

World Blood Donor Day observed internationally, brings together governments, health organizations, blood donors associations and communities around the world. This global collaboration helps to coordinate efforts, share best practices, and address challenges related to blood donation and transfusion services on a global scale.

The importance of blood donation cannot be overstated. It’s crucial for saving lives, in times crisis such as natural disasters, accidents, chronic conditions such as sickle cell anaemia or thalassemia but also for women with complications during pregnancy and childbirth.  While the need for blood is universal, access to blood is not. In almost every country the demand exceeds the supply and therefore, it is also timely  to address continued challenges and accelerate progress towards a future where safe blood transfusion is universally accessible.

In this context, I would like to say that Timor Leste can fulfil less than 40% of the demand through voluntary blood donations. In the remaining instances, the patients’ families are being requested to coordinate replacement donors, which is hugely challenging for everyone and results in avoidable delays and at times undesirable consequences.

To strengthen Timor Leste blood banking system, the World Health Organization is fully committed to support Ministry of Health, the National Blood Bank and the National Hospital in developing a comprehensive policy and strategy for blood transfusion services.

A robust blood donation system is an essential component of public health preparedness. By maintaining an ample supply of blood, healthcare systems can respond promptly to emergencies cases and ensuring that patients receive the care they need when they need it.

While blood transfusion is a unique technology based on scientific process, but availability of blood depends on extra ordinary generosity of people who donate it.

Let me therefore highlight the importance of community engagement and active participation in maintaining an adequate blood supply. It really enhances a sense of solidarity and compassion, bringing people together for a contribution to a greater good.  The work of organization like CVTL, HNGV and National Blood Bank teams deserve to be mentioned for their tireless efforts for reaching out and engaging communities for voluntary blood donors.

It’s important to also reckon that beyond the immediate impact of blood donation, it also serves to raise awareness about health issues such as blood disorders, the importance of regular screenings, and the need for diversify blood donors. This education itself can lead to healthier communities overall.

Every single blood or plasma donation is precious lifesaving gift. Thank you, blood donors! Your selfless donations have had a profound impact on the lives and well-being of people, as well as their families and communities across the country.

On this occasion, I call upon the people of Timor-Leste, to understand the importance of blood donation and encourage them to come forward to regularly donate blood. 

BIG Thank you, blood donors! This selfless donation will have profound impact on lives and wellbeing of thousands of people, as well their families and communities.

Safe blood safe lives!


Source: WHO


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