With increasing life expectancy and subsequent increase in the number of age-related diseases particularly cancer, the global need for blood donations is on the rise to meet growing demands.
Reports say diseases that require blood and blood products for treatment have outstrips supply of blood.
In an event marking World Blood Donor Day, the UN health agency called for more people to come forward to give blood voluntarily and regularly.
According to World Health Organization, some blood products used to treat cancer patients, like platelets, have a shelf-life of only five days. WHO cites that the world is increasingly in need more blood donors to meet these demands.
According to WHO, the need for blood and blood products is rising in all parts of the world.
In high- and middle-income countries, with advancements in health-care systems, this need is being driven by increasingly sophisticated medical and surgical procedures, such as cardiovascular and transplant surgery, trauma care and therapy for cancer and blood disorders.
WHO adds that severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.
When severe bleeding occurs, timely treatment is required for management of these patients, including transfusion of blood and blood products, as women may die within one hour, according to WHO.
In low-income countries, where diagnostic facilities and treatment options are limited, the majority of transfusions are prescribed for the treatment of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, severe childhood anaemia, trauma and congenital blood disorders.
WHO highlighted that in many situations in developing countries, current health systems are unable to meet the needs, while expansion of health coverage and improved access to health services further increases these demands.
WHO notes that there are 92 million blood donations globally each year, with most of these by voluntary, unpaid donors. Of these voluntary donors, 30 million give blood once, and then do not return.
“We need to encourage these donors to come back and become repeat, regular donors.” -Coordinator for Blood Transfusion Safety at the World Health Organization Dr. Neelam Dhingra
Dr. Dhingra stresses that each blood donation is only 450 millilitres and by having more repeat voluntary donors, it can better assure the reliability of blood supply and safety of blood and blood products.
WHO reports that that there are 62 countries which can meet their transfusion needs of their health-care systems and many more are making rapid progress.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80 million units of blood are donated every year, but only 38 percent are collected in developing countries where 82 percent of the global population lives. The availability and safety of blood is limited in these countries where obstetric care is vital to the health of pregnant women.
World Blood Donor Day aims to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and to thank those who give blood regularly on a voluntary, unpaid basis.