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  • Blood Donation in India

    • The history of voluntary blood donation in India dates back to 1942 during the second world war, when blood donors were required to help the wounded soldiers. The first blood bank was established in Kolkata, West Bengal in March 1942 at the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health and was managed by the Red Cross. The donors were mostly government employees and people from the Anglo-Indian community who donated blood for a humanitarian cause. The number of voluntary donors declined after the war and donors had to be paid for the blood. 
    • Leela Moolgaonkar, a social reformer, initiated voluntary blood donation camps in Mumbai from 1954. The 1960s saw many blood banks open in different cities. Under his stewardship in 1975, J. G. Jolly, the president of the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology declared October 1 as the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day, which has been observed throughout the country ever since. 
    • The HIV pandemic in the 1980s led to the government setting up the National AIDS Control Organization in 1992 to oversee the policies in preventing the spread of AIDS. Subsequently, the National AIDS Control Programme was launched which led to drastic improvements in patient screening and hygienic transfusion procedures. A public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme court in 1996 to abolish the practice of selling blood which became effective on 1 January 1998. Selling or donating blood in exchange of money is illegal under the National Blood Transfusion Services Act 2007 and those found convicted may face a prison sentence of up to three months with fine. 
    • Ever since, there have been localised blood donation initiatives - either facility based or by voluntary organisations and NGOs all over India. Increased awareness has led to regular blood donation drives especially in major cities helping the cause. Even then, there is an overall 10% shortage of blood 


    • The estimated annual requirement is around 1.2 crore units per annum. India faced a 10 per cent shortage in its estimated blood requirement in 2015-16, an improvement from the 17 per cent shortfall reported in 2013-14. In 2015-16, blood collection through various sources, including blood donation camps, was 1.1 crore units — a shortage of 11.5 lakh units, according to data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
    • The availability of blood is sharply skewed. While Delhi had a surplus of 233 per cent in available blood units, Bihar faced an 85 per cent shortage — the State had just 1.6 lakh units available against a demand of 10.3 lakh units per annum. Data show that 16 States (including Union Territories) faced a shortage while 18 States had sufficient or excess of blood units. 2.8 million units of blood were wasted in the last 5 years.


    • Though the blood shortage has come down, there is severe shortage as far as rare blood groups (like Negative Blood Groups) are concerned
    • The responsibility to get the donor is with the patients and their relatives / friends in times of urgent need. Even where fhospitals give immediate blood, you need to replenish that within a day.
    • This necessitates a huge database of potential volunatary donors spread across India. Be a part of the movement!
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