World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on June 14 every year, commemorating the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner. Karl was an Austria-born biologist, physician and immunologist, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work that led to the classification of blood groups under A, B and O.
A remarkable feat in the field of medical science, this classification made blood transfusions safer as individuals could be matched based on the presence of markers in red blood cells. This paved the way for widespread acceptance of blood transfusion as a viable medical practice, and saves millions of lives worldwide each year.
This has also allowed for the storage of safe blood and blood products for medical use, and be made available during an emergency.
In the year 2005, the World Blood Donor Day was officially unveiled for the very first time by the WHO, and it seeks to improve and amplify public awareness on the importance of the availability of safe blood and related products. This can be achieved with voluntary and paid donations, as an essential medical resource in treating many suffering with life-threatening diseases and ailments.
The ongoing pandemic has once again highlighted the dire need for blood donations and the importance for the same to be ramped up. Many of the challenges surrounding safe blood donation, are associated with developing countries.
For example, India still falls short of its annual requirement of 13.5 million donations, by a staggering 2 million each year. All this while blood donation is perfectly safe and healthy, but the lack of awareness makes it difficult to improve donation levels.
On this World Blood Donor day, let us step up and do the needful. Let us make a resolution to donate blood at least twice a year, subject to medical advice, of course. We can save countless lives if each person reading this takes this small step to save someone’s life