Rising blood-donation rates in Europe

The total rate rose from 34.7 donations per 1000 population in 2008 to 36.5 in 2010, in the 30 countries in the WHO European Region that reported comparable data. For a European country to maintain a basic self-sufficient supply, it is roughly estimated that a minimum of 2.5% of the population must give blood regularly. Of the 30 countries mentioned, 13 report rates below this threshold.

A blood supply comprising 100% voluntary, unpaid donations should be the goal of every country. It is far safer than paid donation, because donors are selected, disclose details of their lifestyles and have a regular health check and regular testing. The average share of voluntary, unpaid donations rose slightly, from 95.3% in 2008 to 95.8% in 2010.

Between 2008 and 2010, rates of screening blood for HIV, and the hepatitis C and B viruses also increased, with almost all countries reporting 100% screening in 2010. In addition, the overall number of deferrals (people excluded from donation) remained constant at about 9–10%.

WHO encourages everyone to donate blood for others, and calls on every country regularly to report data on blood donors and donations, to ensure equitable access to safe transfusion therapy, help monitor progress and learn from success stories.

World Blood Donor Day 2012

The theme of the 2012 campaign is: “Every blood donor is a hero”. While recognizing the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, the campaign also strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.