ISLAMABAD, Jun 14 (APP):Like other parts of the globe, World Blood Donor Day was also observed in Pakistan on Sunday to raise awareness about significance of blood donations and to thank the blood donors for their gift of life.

The Donor Day celebrations are also a reminder across the world that blood transfusion is the single most important life-saving intervention carried out every day in healthcare settings all over the world.

It is therefore of utmost importance that safe blood for transfusion is available and accessible to all irrespective of caste, color, creed, gender or geographical distribution.

Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, former National Coordinator, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Ministry of Health, said that today in 2020, the World Blood Donor Day was celebrated in a new and changed world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we live. Overnight the healthcare sector has assumed tremendous significance and it is now essential to improve national healthcare systems including the blood transfusion systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed special challenges to reformed blood system.

The blood donors suddenly vanished and blood banks all over the country faced severe shortages of blood in March this year.

Later, due to increased highlighting of the issue in the electronic and social media, particularly by the thalassaemia community, the number of voluntary ‘walk-in’ donors in blood banks increased dramatically.

The provincial and federal governments have endorsed the use of ‘Convalescent Plasma’ for the treatment of mild to moderate intensity COVID-19 cases. As a result, there is now a sudden and desperate demand for ‘Convalescent Plasma’.

He said that the SBTP must come up with a National Action Plan immediately to mitigate the shortages of blood in the country, especially through its nationwide network of Regional Blood Centers and their linked hospital blood banks, for routine, emergency and thalassaemia patients as well as the COVID-19 patients.

He said the World Blood Donor Day has thus assumed special significance this year.

It is a reminder to leave no stone unturned to further strengthen the blood safety systems reforms in the country being implemented nationwide since 2010 through the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme with the support of the German government and the technical assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The sustainability of the reforms process would ensure access to safe and quality blood for all through 100 percent voluntary and regular blood donations.