People urged to save mothers on World Blood Donor DayListen /
"Give blood for those who give life", the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged on World Blood Donor day observed annually on 14 June.
The UN agency is calling on people to donate "safe blood to save mothers" and is asking countries to improve access to that blood.
Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world of 510 deaths per 100 000 live births, also has the lowest blood donation rates.
Dr Neelam Dhingra is the Coordinator for Blood Transfusion Safety at WHO:
"Every day, worldwide, around 800 women die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Severe bleeding during pregnancy and childbirth is the single biggest cause of maternal mortality and an urgent need for safe blood supplies is essential to save lives of these women, who require transfusion at the time of childbirth."
About 108 million blood donations are collected worldwide every year.
Almost half of these are collected in high-income countries.
In many low- and middle-income countries, blood supply is critically inadequate.
Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.