Every blood donor is a hero
13 June 2012 – The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), commemorated World Blood Donor Day 2012 on 13 June 2012. The event took place today at the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Baghdad. High-level delegates from the Government of Iraq, blood donors, representatives of civil societies, the international community and media attended celebrations for the Day. The objectives were to raise people’s awareness of the importance of safe blood and blood products and to honour all voluntary unpaid donors for their contribution towards saving lives.
“Every one of us can become a hero by giving blood,” said Dr Abd Sattar Jabar, Deputy Ministry of Health for Technical Affairs, on behalf of H.E Dr Majeed Hamad Amin, the Minister of Health of Iraq. He added that, “On this day, I want to acknowledge heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, and strongly encourage more people to donate blood voluntarily and regularly for their own health and to save the lives of others.”
Dr Syed Jaffer Hussain, WHO Representative in Iraq, stated that, “Timely availability of safe blood and blood products enhances the chances of survival of many people in need of blood transfusion. He added that, "Safe blood transfusion has helped to save millions of lives every year. It can help improve life expectancy and the quality of life for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.”
In Iraq, demand for blood transfusion outstrips supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. In 2010, only 56 713 blood collections were recorded in 354 blood donation campaigns. Dr Yaqoub Al-Mousawi, Director of the National Blood Donation Centre stated that, “Blood donation, by at least 1% of a country’s population, is generally sufficient to meet a country’s basic requirements for safe blood”. Dr Al-Mousawi calls for more collaborative effort to raise the awareness of the community on the importance of taking part in saving lives by donating blood.
WHO reaffirms its commitment to providing technical support to the Ministry of Health in ensuring availability and safety of blood supplies through the implementation of a programme, funded by the European Union, which aims to strengthen blood transfusion services in Iraq in order to meet, in a timely fashion, the needs of the population, particularly those that are most vulnerable, such as patients requiring emergency medical care.
About World Blood Donor Day 2012
WHO chose 14 June as the day to recognize the millions of people who save lives and improve the health of others by donating blood. The Day highlights the need to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals and clinics, particularly in developing countries where quantities are very limited.
The annual event focuses on motivating more people to become blood donors. It demonstrates how health systems and policy-makers work to make blood transfusions safe and accessible to people worldwide. This year the celebration in Iraq was conducted on 13 June.
About WHO Iraq
WHO has been on the ground in Iraq since 1960. WHO through its various programmes is currently providing technical support to revitalize, strengthen and sustain the Iraqi health system based on primary health care.
WHO works with the Government and other partners to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals through improved access to quality health services, in shaping health policy and providing technical support in many programmes, such as maternal and child health, adolescent and school health, nutrition, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, International Health Regulations, mental health and health technologies and pharmaceuticals.
Press release (English) | Arabic