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Honoring World Blood Donor Day 2021

6/14/2021
Give Blood and Keep the World Beating

By Tim Benner
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Blood Center Solutions
Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies

World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) comes just once a year, on 14 June, with the mission to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank donors for their life-saving gifts.  The World Health Organization (WHO) considers blood to be an "essential medicine" — and at Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, making that medicine available is our passion and our business every day of the year. In addition to making medical devices to collect, separate and process blood and cells, we host blood drives and sponsor education to ensure people understand the vital importance of blood donation.

WHO's WBDD theme for 2021 is "Give blood and keep the world beating." This year's theme showcases the essential contribution that selfless blood donors give to impact lives and help others in need. The theme also underpins the global call for more people to donate blood as part of their routine and thus contribute to the health of their communities.

wbdd-mediasquares-eng-rgb6.pngThe COVID-19 pandemic has continued to highlight the need for safe, sustainable and adequate blood supplies. My colleagues in Kenya and India (such as at our facility in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala), regularly advocate for blood donation. Patients everywhere need blood, but in many parts of the world, it's not uncommon for it to be unavailable. Such conditions result in devastating consequences when families unnecessarily lose loved ones. While some people may think a lack of blood is a problem only for others, the pandemic has devastated blood collections worldwide. Businesses, churches and schools shuttered blood drives due to lockdown restrictions. We saw images of nearly empty blood bank shelves not just in developing nations but in the developed world as well. This should scare all of us. What would happen if we needed blood in an emergent situation? Would there be supplies to save our lives?

In the U.S., statistics demonstrate that less than 10% of people eligible to donate blood do so regularly, but one in seven people entering the hospital will require blood. WHO's data shows that the world continues to fall short of the needed minimum number of donations just to meet the most basic needs for transfusion (15 people per every 1,000). Yet the need everywhere is great — for example, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross.

Beyond education and advocacy for blood donations, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies continues working on the front lines to bolster these efforts. A safe, sustainable and adequate blood supply is at the core of much of our work. For example, one of our flagship products, the Trima Accel® Automated Blood Collection System, is working away at blood centers worldwide to help healthcare professionals collect the right blood components at the right time from the right blood donors. The Mirasol® Pathogen Reduction Technology (PRT) System is another product we make that is in routine use at more than 100 blood centers in over 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Mirasol1 is designed to add an extra layer of safety to the blood supply. Finally, clinicians use our Spectra Optia® Apheresis System2,3 for several procedures that require donated blood. One example is red blood cell exchange for the management of sickle cell disease. Without voluntary blood donations, patients who need help managing this painful condition cannot receive needed treatment.​

So we ask those who can donate blood to please step forward. The impact on your community is sure to be far-reaching. While you may never know who receives your blood, you can be sure that patient is loved by and important to their family and friends. 

We understand that not everyone can physically donate blood, but think about what you can do. Can you help organize a blood drive at your work, church or school? Can you share the importance of blood donation on your social media to cheer others on with their endeavors?

Thank you for taking the time to learn about blood as an essential medicine. Please "Give blood and keep the world beating."


About the author

Tim-Benner.jpgTim Benner serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Blood Center Solutions for Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, a global medical technology company with products, software and services that enable customers to collect and prepare blood and cells to help treat the challenging diseases and conditions of today and tomorrow.

 






1The Mirasol PRT system is not approved for sale in the U.S. It is available in select other markets.

2,3The Spectra Optia Apheresis System, a blood component separator, is intended for use in therapeutic apheresis applications and may be used to perform Red Blood Cell Exchange (RBCX), Depletion, and Depletion/Exchange procedures.

The Spectra Optia system is available in select markets and protocol availability varies by country. Actual results may vary.

​ 

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