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WHO needs more regular blood donors as global demand for blood rises

“With increasing life expectancy and the subsequent increase in the number of age-related, chronic diseases, including cancers, that require blood and blood products for treatment, we increasingly need more blood donors to meet these demands,” said Dr. Neelam Dhingra, Coordinator for Blood Transfusion Safety of the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO reported that uncontrolled bleeding accounts for more than 468,000 deaths per year worldwide.  In maternal mortality, one of the leading causes is severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth. When severe bleeding occurs, urgent and timely treatment is required for management of patients, including transfusion of blood and blood products, as women may die within one hour.

In the Philippines, the 2011 total blood collection reached 700,000 blood units. Reports from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) showed that blood donations of the country still fell short from the national blood unit requirement of 950,000.

Currently, there are about 92 million blood donations per year globally from volunteer and unpaid donors. However, about 30 million of these voluntary donors give blood only once and do not return for another blood donation.

“We need to encourage these donors to come back and become repeat, regular donors. Each blood donation is only 450 millilitres and by having more repeat voluntary donors, we can better assure the reliability of blood supply and safety of blood and blood products,” stressed Dr Dhingra.