Dear people of Malta and Gozo,
Every year, on the 14th of June, we come together to commemorate World Blood Donor Day.
The main purpose of this day is to raise more awareness of the need for blood and blood products for safe transfusions. Another purpose is to recognise the essential contribution made to the national health system by all those who donate blood voluntarily and without monetary compensation.
That is why in the last fourteen days, prominent buildings, including the Presidency Palaces, have been lit in red to thank all those in our country who in this last year offered their blood to those in need.
It is important to remember that even though we have been and are still going through a pandemic that has affected the whole world, the need for blood and its products has not stopped.
I know that the COVID-19 virus has brought with it a sense of fear as its spread has accelerated due to the new variants that have emerged also in our country.
This year we must appreciate more than ever those thousands of donors who, despite this scenario of turmoil and fear, have not failed to visit the blood donation centres in Malta and Gozo.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate more than a thousand people who have donated blood for the first time in the last year.
Your noble gesture has helped the timely treatment of many of our people who are in critical condition, and of those in constant need of blood transfusions.
Thank you to all the donors for recognising the good that comes from your gesture and the example of altruism that you are giving to others.
This year, the slogan chosen by the World Health Organization for this day is ‘Give blood and keep the world beating’. It is a very timely slogan, as we have seen that despite the disadvantages and turmoil, life, as I said, still must go on.
My appeal goes to all those, especially youths, who are interested, and perhaps never found the time or, so to speak, the courage to take the step of donating blood.
My advice is to encourage each other, in your social circles, to at least take it in turns. Do not forget that you can give the gift of life and offer hope where there is none.
In our country, so far, we have always had a good number of donors. This shows the big heart of our people who in cases of health and illness are always ready to help where needed.
So let us keep taking care of each other. You know how much unity in our islands, on every level, is close to my heart. Surely when it comes to health, both unity and solidarity are immensely needed.
Blood donation is a testament to solidarity at the national level that sets us apart from other countries.
On the day dedicated to blood donors, I must mention and thank the staff of the National Blood Transfusion Service, who work in this department, for the invaluable work they do every day.
This past year has not been easy for anyone, including them. Like the rest of their fellow frontliners, these workers offered their services so that part of the population could be vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Gwardamanġa Centre.
Since the 15th of March, through additional effort, these nurses, and other ancillary workers in the field, went beyond expectations and gave over 400 vaccinations each morning, while making sure that the work related to blood transfusion continues smoothly.
This could only be done with full dedication to the health of our people.
On behalf of all the people of Malta and Gozo, I thank you for your hard work.
I believe that as a united nation, we can be a source of solace and service to all those who are, or will be, in need.
Be generous and donate blood.