World Donor Day 2021 has been marked with a call to young people to participate more regularly in donation efforts.
Celebrated on June 24, every year, the day aims at raising global awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion, as it emphasizes the importance of voluntary contribution towards the cause.
The day also provides an opportunity to call upon governments and national health authorities to provide adequate resources and put into place systems and infrastructures to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors.
In Rwanda and internationally, this year's version of the day is marked with a slogan "Give blood and keep the world beating," a message that highlights the essential contribution of blood donors towards keeping the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others' health.
A special focus of this campaign will be the role of young people in ensuring a safe blood supply.
In Rwanda, celebration activities will focus on several activities aiming at mobilizing the general population, particularly young people to begin donating blood and regularly do so.
To observe measures in place for fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, activities of the World Blood Donor Day 2021 in the country will be limited to a blood donation camp in Ruhango District, Southern Province, in addition to an awarding event for recognizing the top 10 blood donors of last year.
Safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are critical aspect of care and public health.
They save millions of lives and improve the health and quality of life of many patients every day.
The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in developing countries.
State of blood donation and transfusion in Rwanda
According to information from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, despite limited mobility and other challenges, blood donors in Rwanda have continued to donate blood and plasma to patients who need transfusion.
"This extraordinary effort during a time of unprecedented crisis highlights the crucial role of well-organized, committed voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors in ensuring a safe and sufficient blood supply during normal and emergency times," reads a statement from RBC.
Approximately 288 blood component units are needed every day in Rwanda, according to the 2020 annual report of the Blood Transfusion Department of RBC.
Last year, the demand for blood components from health facilities were 100,935 units. Of these, RBC supplied 93,993 units which is 93.12 % hospital satisfaction.
RBC clarified that the satisfaction of 93.12 per cent does not mean that the remaining 6.88 per cent was not taken care of, but rather, it means that a patient received the blood component units on the following day, or they recovered without additional blood.
In Rwanda, most transfusion rates are due to malaria, pregnancies and birth complication cases, cancer cases followed by other issues like road accidents.