UN family members donate blood in Ukraine

18:02, 12 June 2008
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400 ml. of donated blood can help save as many as three people`s lives

Millions of people owe their lives to people they will never meet - people who donate their blood freely and without any reward. In spite of advancements in medical and surgical procedures, there is still a great need for blood. Just 400 ml. of donated blood can help save as many as three people`s lives.

Today the UN Country Team in Ukraine has conducted UN Blood Drive on the eve of the World Blood Donor Day commemorated annually worldwide on June 14. To promote unpaid blood donation and to support the global movement encouraging regular blood donations, UN staff members decided to donate their blood in the Kyiv city hospital.

Initiated by the WHO country office in Ukraine, this joint UN action was organized for the first time in country involving employees of the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Volunteers programme, the International Organization for Migration, the World Bank and the UN office in Ukraine.

"It is crucially important for Ukraine to advance its blood transfusion system to ensure regular, safe and sustainable blood supply", stated Head of WHO country office in Ukraine Dr Igor Pokanevych. "The blood donation approach and the legislation have to be changed in Ukraine to unpaid ones", he added.  

"We, representing UN international and local staff in Ukraine, want to show the example today how easily each of us could help save the life and improve health of many people", said Yuliya Yurova from the World Bank office in Ukraine.

"I believe it`s important that the voluntary, unpaid blood donation become part of our culture in Ukraine - that`s why I`ve joined this action today", noted Anna Danylyuk from the UN Resident Coordinator office in Ukraine. 

The blood donated by the UN staff this day will be given to the patients of the Kyiv hospitals in the treatment of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and other diseases. 

Till now many countries remain dependent on donation by the families or friends of patients who require blood and, in some countries, blood donors still receive payment. Yet evidence from around the world demonstrates that voluntary unpaid donors are the foundation of a safe blood supply because they are least likely to transmit potentially life-threatening infections, such as HIV and hepatitis viruses, to the recipients of their blood. It is to these unsung heroes that World Blood Donor Day is dedicated.

In Europe voluntary non-remunerated blood donation is reported as the main source for the national blood supply in 46 countries. According to latest reports, in the WHO European region the number of donors varies from less than 4.5 in 1000, to over 45 per 1000 general population. And 90% of individuals that are eligible to donate blood are not currently doing so.

Moreover, one donated unit of whole blood can save up to 3 lives, through separation and use of its components. The world record in blood donation is held by Maurice Wood in the United States of America, who in 2004 gave his 300th unit of blood.


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