World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). Every 14 June since 2004, countries around the world celebrate this event on the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner – the Austrian-American pathologist and immunologist who distinguished the main blood groups.

WBDD serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood. This year’s theme is: What Can You Do?

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. In the past six weeks, The Guardian in partnership with Lifebank – a tech startup, has campaigned for a shift in the Nigerian blood culture by releasing communication materials including articles, videos and infographics to educate the Nigerian public on the need for voluntary blood donation as a way of reducing mortality rate. Access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products can help reduce rates of death and disability due to severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth.

The theme for Blood Donation Day in 2017 focuses on blood donation in emergency situations. The first response when an emergency happens is “What Can You Do?” and the answer is “Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often.”

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