World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) - What you need to know & how you can help make a difference


Jade Poole from I Write Words


We explore what WBDD is all about, who can donate blood, where you can donate it and basically everything you need to know about this global awareness campaign

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the 14 of June every year.

The theme for 2019 is “Safe Blood For All.”

Why was WBDD created?

This annual event was created to thank those who have donated blood and encourage new donors to donate by raising awareness around the benefits of blood donations in how they have changed and saved lives.

Blood transfusions save millions of lives every year.

Blood and blood products are essential to a number of people suffering from health conditions.

Who can benefit from blood donations?

According to WHO, patients suffering from the below conditions can benefit from blood donations:

  1. Women suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth
  2. Children suffering from anaemia as a result of malnutrition or malaria
  3. Patients with bone marrow and blood disorders
  4. Patients with immune deficiency conditions
  5. Patients with inherited disorders of the haemoglobin (this is the red substance in the blood, which combines with the oxygen we breathe and carries it around your body)
  6. Patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures
  7. Victims of trauma, emergencies, disasters and accidents

Key messages of 2019’s World Blood Donor Day

  1. The world and the global population need enough safe blood for those in need
  2. Every few minutes, and even seconds, there is someone in need of blood in the world
  3. Blood transfusions save MILLIONS of lives every year
  4. Health is considered a basic human right, this means that everyone in the world should have access to safe blood transfusions as and when they need
  5. Those who can donate blood, are encouraged to do their bit in helping make a difference
  6. The safety and health of a donor should be ensured at all times
  7. The access to safe blood and blood product is vital for health coverage on a global scale and is a key area for effective health systems
  8. National health authorities, blood services and governments need to work together in order to ensure the quality and safety of blood donations as well as raise awareness to increase the collection of blood

Can I give blood?

The majority of people can give blood. If you are in good health, then you can probably give blood.

There are some basic requirements you need to make to be a blood donor. According to the SANBS (South African National Blood Service), here are the minimum requirements to be a blood donor:

  1. Age - You are between the ages of 16 and 75 years old, for first-time donors.
  2. Weight - You weigh 50 kgs or more (and platelets a minimum of 55 kgs)
  3. Health - You and your lifestyle are healthy.
  4. Low-risk - Your lifestyle is low-risk.
  5. Safe blood - You consider your blood safe for transfusion - this means you do not take illegal substances, are not suffering from chronic diseases etc.
  6. You have eaten - You have eaten a healthy and balanced meal within 4 hours of donating blood.
  7. It has been nearly 2 months since your last donation - You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and have not donated platelets in the last 14 days.)
  8. Healthy pulse - Your pulse is between 50 to 100 regular beats per minute.
  9. Healthy blood pressure - Your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (this is the first number) and below 100 diastolic (this is the second number), this will read as 180/100mmHg. And more than 100 systolic and more than 60 diastolic, this reads as 100/60mmHg.
  10. Haemoglobin levels - Your haemoglobin level is 12.5 g/dL or above.

If you are not sure what your blood pressure and haemoglobin levels are, then the  SANBS will perform a screening test to ensure your blood pressure and haemoglobin levels are within a safe range for you to donate.

Some things to keep in mind

If you have had surgery in the last 6 months or are going to have an operation in the next 6 weeks, then you need to ask for more information.

You also need to ask for more info if:

  1. You are pregnant
  2. You are breastfeeding
  3. You are on antibiotics
  4. You have recently travelled to a malaria area
  5. You have suffered from cancer, bleeding disorders, heart disease or other serious and long term medical issues
  6. You are involved in any extreme or hazardous occupations such as scuba diving, flying a plane and operating heavy machinery

You cannot donate blood if:

  1. You have tested positive for HIV.
  2. There is a chance you have been exposed to HIV / AIDS.
  3. If you are donating blood to be tested for HIV / AIDS.
  4. You are being treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

What can I do right now?

Have a look at where the SANBS is next doing a blood drive in your area and, if you are eligible, go and donate blood!

Yours in health insurance,


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