Remarks of Dr Liu Yunguo, WHO Representative at the World Blood Donor Day, Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, 14 June 2017, National Blood Transfusion Centre

Venerable monks,
HE Dr Mam Bun Heng, Minister of Health;
HE Hun Many, President of Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia and President of Asian Youth Council;
Dr Hok Kim Cheng, Director of National Blood Transfusion Center;
Ms Margaret E. LaFontaine, Acting director of US CDC, Cambodia Office;
Dr Eang Rothmony, Representative of regular donors;
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to be here with you to celebrate World Blood Donor Day and deliver remarks on behalf of development partners.

Today is the 14th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day with the theme "Give blood, Give now, Give often”. The theme underlines the role every person can play in helping others in emergency situations, by giving the valuable gift of blood. It also focuses on the fact that it is important to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is sufficient before an emergency arises.

Giving blood is saving life. A single unit of donated blood can save up to three lives. Globally, transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. However, in many countries including Cambodia, there is an inadequate supply of safe blood. The supply of safe blood can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors.

In Cambodia, the blood collected from voluntary blood donations has not yet met the national needs. While the proportion of voluntary blood donations in most neighbouring countries reached 80–90%, Cambodia reached only 31% by the end of 2016, compared to WHO’s recommended level of 100%. Many more voluntary donors are needed to meet the National Blood Transfusion Centre’s target of 50% voluntary blood donations by 2020.

WHO recommends strategies and suggestions for concrete actions at national and community levels to move towards 100% voluntary blood donation. In Cambodia the following actions are recommended

  • Creating an enabling environment for 100% voluntary blood donation, including stronger advocacy and the establishment of a youth programme.
  • Fostering a culture of voluntary blood donation by maximizing the impact of World Blood Donor Day and donor education with community involvement.
  • Building and maintaining a safe, sustainable voluntary donor base by recognizing their contribution to society and mobilizing youth as a new generation of voluntary blood donors.
  • Providing quality donor service and care to make it more convenient for donors to give blood and reaching out to donors through mobile sessions.
  • Encouraging all blood centres to have a practical plan for promotion of voluntary blood donation under the leadership of provincial Voluntary Blood Donation Steering Committees.

I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, especially the National Blood Transfusion Centre, for organizing this annual event since 2004, and the leadership of the Cambodian Red Cross. I also wish to thank US-CDC, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Global Fund, US PACOM and all development partners for their technical assistance and financial support to improve the National Blood Transfusion System in Cambodia.

Voluntary blood donors deserve our highest recognition. I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the 400 regular donors attending this important event today. I thank you all again, for your life-saving generosity.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy and fruitful World Blood Donor Day. Thank you.