The Villains

Lack of blood

Blood is a vital to life and necessary to deliver effective health care in any country.

Every year, millions of people around the world need a blood transfusion due to severe blood loss, cancer treatment or having a blood-related disease. However, many patients die because they do not have access to safe blood. The situation is worse in poor countries.

  • In developed countries, transfusion is most commonly used for supportive care in cardiovascular and transplant surgery, massive trauma, and therapy for solid and haematological malignancies. Due to their advanced health systems, the demand for blood is high and continues to rise to support increasingly sophisticated medical and surgical procedures, trauma care, and the management of blood disorders.
  • In poorer countries, on the other hand, where diagnostic facilities and treatment options are limited, the majority of transfusion recipients suffer complications during pregnancy and childbirth, severe childhood anaemia, trauma, and congenital blood disorders like sickle cell.

When there is an urgent need for blood, every minute of delay being potentially life-threatening. For instance, when people suffer massive blood loss (defined as 50% blood volume loss within 3 hours), it is immediately life threatening as the heart cannot pump a sufficient amount of blood around the body and organs rapidly shut down. For this reason, a strong health system must have sufficient and safe blood supplies available at the location and time of need.

Lack of organs

Human organ transplantation is often the only treatment for end state organ failure, such as liver and heart failure. Although end stage renal disease patients can be treated through other renal replacement therapies, kidney transplantation is generally accepted as the best treatment both for quality of life and cost effectiveness. Kidney transplantation is by far the most frequently carried out transplantation globally.

Lack of stem cells

Stem cells are amazing!  They can grow into any other cell in your body. This means they can be used to treat a wide range of blood cancers and disorders.  For some people, a stem cell transplant (also known as a bone marrow transplant) is the only hope of survival.  But matching donors and patients isn’t easy.  Between 65-75% of those in need are unable to find a sibling match so rely on the generosity of strangers.

Urgent need for voluntary donors

The availability of sufficient, secure supplies of blood, organs and stem cells is an important component of efforts towards achieving the goal of universal health coverage. These medical resources – only obtainable from individuals who willingly donate them – are scarce, unique and precious, life-saving gifts.

Recruiting VOLUNTARY blood, organ and stem cell donors continues to be a major challenge for health care systems across the world.