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Thiruvananthapuram, May 17

VOLUNTARY, unpaid donors continue to be the foundation of safe blood supply if only because they are least likely to transmit potentially life-threatening infections, such as HIV and hepatitis viruses, to recipients.

It is to these unsung heroes that World Blood Donor Day, which falls on June 14, is dedicated. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now joined the three major international bodies working for voluntary non-remunerated blood donation - the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organisations and the International Society of Blood Transfusion - in the conduct of commemorative programmes across the world.

The day is expected to create wider awareness of the importance of voluntary blood donation and encourage more people to become regular blood donors. The purpose is to celebrate and thank those individuals who voluntarily donate without expecting any reward.

Surgicals major Terumo Penpol is teaming up with the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) to honour the `very special people' who have volunteered to provide the foundation of a safe blood supply that is available to all patients requiring transfusion.

A spokesperson of Terumo Penpol said here that those who have been donating on a regular basis would be honoured in this manner on June 14. The basic criterion for choice of the donor award will be minimum 10 donations in the past five years. There will be separate prizes for those who have donated more than 50 times, between 25 and 50 times, and more than 10 times.

Interested donors have been asked to contact the Public Relations Officer, Terumo Penpol Ltd, Sasthamangalam. (Phone: 0471-2725357, 98474-22400) or E-mail to babyberly@vsnl.net.

The need of the hour is the emergence of a new generation of donors capable of providing the safest blood possible for use wherever and whenever it is needed to save life, the spokesperson said. Youth will therefore be the focus of the day.

An overwhelming majority of the world's population do not have access to safe blood. Over 80 million units of blood are donated every year, but only 38 per cent is collected in developing countries where 82 per cent of the global population live.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 18, 2005)
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