New Delhi: Over 300 people participated in a two-day blood donation awareness programme here, which was held keeping in mind the scarcity of voluntary blood donors in the country. The programme included lectures, short films on the need for blood donation and other activities, and ended on Tuesday which is the World Blood Donor Day. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), voluntary, unpaid blood donations must be increased rapidly in more than half the world's countries in order to ensure a reliable supply of safe blood for patients whose lives depend on it. Only 62 countries get close to 100 per cent of their national blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid blood donations, with 34 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors for more than 75 per cent of their blood supply. "Donating blood not only helps in saving millions of lives but also improves the health of a blood donor," said Reena Bansal, head of the blood bank at Saroj Super Speciality Hospital here, the organiser of the event. "Donated blood is essentially required to save the lives of patients suffering from anaemia, cancer, thalassemia and other diseases and those who have suffered excess blood loss." Voluntary blood donation is also important during the transplant of the surgeries like kidney and liver during the operative procedures.