12 June 2012 - Sudan started a week-long celebration of the 2012 World Blood Donor Day campaign with the theme, “Every blood donor is a hero”, focusing on the idea that everyone can become a hero by giving blood.
On 12 June, Country Representatives of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Habitat, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WHO and the Humanitarian Coordinator of the Swiss Embassy in Sudan donated blood at the National Blood Transfusion Centre.
“This is the 178th time I have donated blood. Each time, I feel each good because I know I am helping someone who needs it,” said UNEP Country Representative Robin Bovey.
UNFPA Representative Pamela DeLargy also emphasized the need for more blood supply to address the issue of maternal mortality in Sudan, “lack of blood supply is one of main causes of deaths during deliveries. It is only through recognition of the importance of voluntary blood donation that we will get sufficient blood supply, and consequently address the challenge of maternal deaths in Sudan.”
Mr Patrick Olsson, Counsellor for Humanitarian and Development Affairs of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Sudan, also said that this was not the first time he had donated blood, and added, “It’s fun to donate blood, and it’s painless.”
“It is healthy for individuals to donate and this is my way of helping people,” said UN Habitat Representative Wael Alashhab.
The donation of blood was conducted in a very pleasant and cheerful atmosphere. After the blood donation, representatives visited various departments of the National Blood Transfusion Centre.
World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Sudan Dr Anshu Banerjee urges people in Sudan, especially the youth, to become volunteer blood donors.
“Donating blood is not harmful to health and it is safe. There is no more satisfying experience than saving a life without putting your own life at risk,” Dr Banerjee said.
A number of events take place across Sudan during the week, including commemorative events in all states of Darfur, to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to acknowledge all voluntary unpaid donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
On 14 June, the national event is taking place in Port Sudan with the participation of high-level government officials from the east Sudan region.
By recognizing the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, the campaign encourages more people to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.
Dr Banerjee underlined that, “Regular blood donations are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is required.”
In Sudan, only 49% of blood collections are from voluntary blood donors. WHO works closely with the Federal Ministry of Health through national blood transfusion services to increase the percentage of voluntary donations to 100%, and to help the country build a stable base of voluntary unpaid donors who hopefully would make a long-term commitment to blood donation.