Blood transfusion safety

World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2019

Safe blood for all

This year, World Blood Donor Day will once again be celebrated around the world on 14 June. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and also to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products, as an integral part of universal health coverage and a key component of effective health systems.

World Blood Donor Day 2019

Blood transfusion safety

blood samples

The World Health Organization has been at the forefront of the movement to improve global blood safety since 1975, as mandated by successive World Health Assembly resolutions. The objective of the WHO programme on blood transfusion safety is to ensure universal access to safe, quality and efficacious blood and blood products for transfusion. WHO supports its Member States by providing policy advice and technical guidance, advocacy, mentoring, technical support, technology transfer, capacity-building, twinning, networking and facilitation of bilateral and multilateral funds.

Guaranteeing safe blood supplies during Zika outbreaks

February 2016: The Zika virus may present a risk to blood safety. Currently there is limited knowledge of Zika virus and the ways it can be transmitted. Until more is known, precautions should be taken to ensure the supply of blood is safe. Therefore, in response to the recent outbreaks of Zika-related infections, WHO and its regional offices, including in particular PAHO (The Pan American Health Organization) have issued guidelines on the provision and maintenance of safe blood supplies in areas affected by the virus.

Achieving self-sufficiency in safe blood through voluntary, non-remunerated blood donation

In 2010, the World Health Assembly deliberated on challenges related to the availability, safety and quality of blood products and defined self‐sufficiency in the supply of safe blood and blood products based on voluntary non-remunerated donation (VNRD), and the security of that supply, as important national goals to prevent blood shortages and meet the transfusion requirements of the patient population. Resolution WHA63.12 urged Member States "to take all necessary steps to establish, implement and support nationally‐coordinated, efficiently‐managed and sustainable blood and plasma programmes according to the availability of resources, with the aim of achieving self‐sufficiency".

Collaboration between WHO and the Government of Japan to boost safe blood transfusions in South Sudan

Since 2013, South Sudan has been facing a civil war, where safe blood transfusions are clearly a life-saving necessity. However, the supply of blood and blood products were not meeting the demand. One hospital in Juba, the nation’s capital, for example, collected a mere 124 voluntary blood donations in 2014. The resulting shortage was costing lives. In 2015, the World Health Organization and the Government of Japan collaborated to provide support to the South Sudanese Ministry of Health in boosting the nation’s safe blood supply. As a result, according to Dr Abdulmumini Usman, the WHO Representative in South Sudan, safe voluntary blood donations increased tenfold in 2015.

World Blood Donor Day 2019
Safe blood for all

Contact information

Blood Transfusion Safety
Service Delivery and Safety
Health Systems and Innovation
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27