World Blood Donor Day – June 14, 2017

What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.

A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. Ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplies requires the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.

Focus of this year’s campaign

The lives and health of millions of people are affected by emergencies every year. In the last decade, disasters have caused more than 1 million deaths, with more than 250 million people being affected by emergencies every year. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and storms create considerable needs for emergency health care, while at the same time, often destroying vital health facilities as well. Man-made disasters such as road accidents and armed conflicts also generate substantial health care demands and the need for front-line treatment.

Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency health care. Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex. Adequate supply of blood during emergencies requires a well-organized blood service, and this can only be ensured by engaging the entire community and a blood donor population committed to voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the year.

Slogan: What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often

This year’s campaign will focus on blood donation in emergencies. In crisis or emergency situation, the natural human response is “What can I do? How can I help?”. Therefore, the slogan for the 2017 campaign is: What can you do?, with the secondary message: Give blood. Give now. Give often.

The campaign underlines the role every single 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.

The objectives of this year’s campaign

  • To encourage all people to strengthen the emergency preparedness of health services in their community by donating blood;
  • To engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programmes with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies;
  • To promote the inclusion of blood transfusion services in national emergency preparedness and response activities;
  • To build wider public awareness of the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve a national self-sufficiency of blood;
  • To celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well;
  • To promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.

Host for this year’s World Blood Donor Day events –
Vietnam

The host country for the global event of World Blood Donor Day 2017 is Vietnam through its National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT). The Global event will be held in Hanoi on 14 June 2017.

MOH Decentralization Program

As part of effort to decentralize the activities within the health sector of Liberia, the Governance & Decentralization Unit (GDU) of the Ministry of Health has completed the roll-out of the Draft County Health Board Operational Manual in five Counties (Bomi, Gbarpolu, River Gee, River Cess and Grand Gedeh).

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World No Tobacco Day, May 31st, 2017

Tobacco – A threat to development

Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 is “Tobacco – a threat to development.”

About the campaign

  • It will demonstrate the threats that the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including the health and economic well-being of their citizens.

  • It will propose measures that governments and the public should take to promote health and development by confronting the global tobacco crisis.

Goals of the World No Tobacco Day 2017 campaign

  • Highlight the links between the use of tobacco products, tobacco control and sustainable development.

  • Encourage countries to include tobacco control in their national responses to 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

  • Support Member States and civil society to combat tobacco industry interference in political processes, in turn leading to stronger national tobacco control action.

  • Encourage broader public and partner participation in national, regional and global efforts to develop and implement development strategies and plans and achieve goals that prioritize action on tobacco control.

  • Demonstrate how individuals can contribute to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world, either by committing to never taking up tobacco products, or by quitting the habit.

Tobacco control supports health and development

WHO is calling on countries to prioritize and accelerate tobacco control efforts as part of their responses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

All countries benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies. The aim of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its 17 global goals, is to ensure that “no one is left behind.”

Tobacco control has been enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda. It is seen as one of the most effective means to help achieve SDG target 3.4 of a one-third reduction globally, by 2030, of premature deaths from no communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease. Strengthening implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco in all countries is an additional target to be met by governments developing national sustainable development responses.

Controlling tobacco helps achieve other global goals

In addition to saving lives and reducing health inequalities, comprehensive tobacco control contains the adverse environmental impact of tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption.

Tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth, and combat climate change. Increasing taxes on tobacco products can also be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

It is not only governments who can step up tobacco control efforts: people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world. People can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can quit the habit, or seek help in doing so, which will in turn protect their health as well as people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members and friends. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food, healthcare and education.

Facts about tobacco, tobacco control and the development goals

  • About 6 million people die from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action. Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.

  • Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care. Some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.

  • Tobacco growing requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. Each year, tobacco growing uses 4.3 million hectares of land, resulting in global deforestation between 2% and 4%. Tobacco manufacturing also produces over 2 million tonnes of solid waste.

  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guides the global fight against the tobacco epidemic. The WHO FCTC is an international treaty with 180 Parties (179 countries and the European Union). Today, more than half the world’s countries, representing nearly 40% of the world’s population (2.8 billion people), have implemented at least one of the WHO FCTC’s most cost-effective measures to the highest level. An increasing number of countries are creating firewalls to ward off interference from the tobacco industry in government tobacco control policy.

  • Through increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by US$1, an extra US$190 billion could be raised for development. High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to finance development activities.