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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Blood donors going global

Tuesday June 14th, 2011

Growing numbers of countries are successfully using unpaid volunteers to collect blood donations, it was announced today.

At least 62 countries now do not have to pay for donations - using the voluntary system pioneered in the UK, according to the analysis released for World Blood Donor Day today.

The World Health Organisation figures date back to 2008 and show a 50 per cent increase in these countries since 2002.

Voluntary donation reduces health costs - but also cuts the risk of a donor lying about infection in order to earn cash.

WHO says other countries are increasing the use of unpaid donors rapidly. India has 4.6 million unpaid donations in 2008 - a one million increase on the previous year.

This year Buenos Aires in Argentina is hosting World Blood Donor day with football matches and a marathon.

Close to the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, schoolchildren will be gathering dressed in red to symbolise a drop of life-saving blood.

According to WHO, about one per cent of a country's population needs to volunteer to provide a safe blood supply. Its target is to achieve this by 2020.

Dr Neelam Dhingra, of WHO, said: "We hope that World Blood Donor Day will encourage more people in more countries to become regular voluntary blood donors."

* The first voluntary blood service was organised by the Red Cross in London, UK, in 1921.

Tags: General Health | World Health

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