June 2024

Blood transfusion plays a critical role in the provision of lifesaving health care. Vulnerable people, such as mothers during childbirth, under-nourished and malaria-affected children, victims of trauma and accidents, and patients suffering from sickle cell and other chronic diseases, particularly benefit from this care1.

We join the international community to mark the selfless act of donating blood. World Blood Donor Day is not merely a date on the calendar; it is a celebration of altruism, empathy, and social responsibility. It is a day to acknowledge and honor blood donors whose acts help save the lives of others.

This year’s global campaign carries the theme: “20 years of celebrating giving: Thank you, blood donors!” We express our gratitude to blood, plasma, and platelet donors in the African region and the world for their lifesaving donations. Moreover, our gratitude is a call to action to motivate more individuals to donate blood.

Each donation is a beacon of hope in someone’s life. There are numerous transformative stories of donation, each unique, yet all share a common thread of compassion and humanity. We appreciate the gesture and are immensely grateful to all the donors in our region and worldwide; we owe them a debt of gratitude.

In the past decade, we have provided technical and financial support to our Member States in their efforts to improve blood products availability, quality, and safety through the following 4-7:

  1. a) Developing and implementing policies, strategic plans, norms, standards, and guidelines
  2. b) Establishing the regulatory system for blood, blood components, and blood products

c) Building capacity of national regulatory authorities and National Blood Transfusion Services to execute the effective regulatory oversight and coordination needed to ensure the implementation of quality standards

  • d) Strengthening collaboration with partners to promote WHO leadership in developing and implementing best practices in blood quality and safety in the region.

Our Member States in the African Region have made significant progress between 2015 and 20221-3

  1. a) The number of countries that have fully developed a national blood policy, increased from 37 in 2015 to 43 in 2022.
  2. b) The average number of blood units collected per 1000 population increased from 4.5 to 5.2 as compared to the regional target of 10 units per 1000 population.

c) The percentage of countries participating in an external quality assessment scheme for transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) increased from 55.3% to 62.2%. 

We sincerely thank our Member States for their efforts.

Despite these improvements, countries must address the persistent challenges in the availability of safe blood and blood products. Through collective efforts, they must raise adequate and sustainable funding, continue to build systems and capacities to increase blood donation rates, and separate donated blood into its components that can be stored for long-term use.