Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, launched the Blood Donation Drive to mark World Blood Donor Day being celebrated worldwide today with being the first to donate blood himself at Dr RML hospital. Speaking at the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the shortage of blood in the country can be fulfilled by more citizens of the country voluntarily donating blood. He appealed to all the healthy citizens to make donation of blood a regular activity of their life. The Health Minister stated that the country can reap benefits of the demographic pidend with more and more young people coming forward to donate blood. At present against the demand for 12-13 million units of blood every year, we are collecting about 10 million units, he informed. The demand for blood in the country has been increasing due to surgeries, accidents and medical tourism, he stated.
He said that as many as 80,000 women die in the country due to want of safe blood during pregnancy. About 87 percent of pregnant women suffer from anaemia of which 13.5 percent suffer from acute anaemia which can be life threatening. If there were more safe blood banks in the country, the number of women dying during pregnancy due to loss of blood can be significantly reduced. He stated that the rates of maternal mortality can be brought down with this. This year’s theme for the World Blood Donation day is “Maternal Health-Donate blood to safe mothers”.
“We will see that each district of the country has a safe blood bank in the coming one-two years. I will talk to the states and civil society organisations about this. The Center will do all it can to see that this is implemented soon”, stated the Health Minister. The emphasis, the Health Minister stated, will be on 40 districts in Uttarnachal, UP, UP, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Tripura and Bihar which have no district level safe blood bank. He further added that there is nothing more saddening or deplorable that people in the country can die due to want of safe blood.
Dr Harsh Vardhan informed that the Department of AIDS Control will soon set up four Metro Blood Banks in the fours metro cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi which will be state-of-the-art centres of excellence. These banks will collect one lakh unit of blood every year through 100 percent voluntary blood donation, he added. The Health Minister has asked the Department of AIDS Control and the Red Cross Society to set any date by which the shortfall in the required blood in the country should be made zero, and stated that there is potential within the country to ensure that this target will be achieved.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that there is nothing more pious or sacred than donating blood to save lives. He appealed to religious leaders to motivate people to donate blood without thinking that this will lead to infirmity or weakness. Dr HarshVardhan said that studies have demonstrated that the chances of cardiovascular diseases and cancer in people who donate blood regularly reduce by as much as 80 percent. The Union Health Minister also unveiled the National Policy for Access to Plasma Derived Medicinal Products from Human Plasma for Clinical/ Therapeutic Use. The Policy aims at making available, easily accessible and adequate supply of high quality plasma derived proteins for clinical/therapeutic use. It aims to enable mobilization of excess plasma stocks from blood banks to the plasma fractionation units in order to obtain higher value products that can be made available for clinical and therapeutic use.
Dr Harsh Vardhan felicitated regular blood donors and agencies which have done commendable work in inpidually donating blood and organising blood camps across various parts of the country. Blood Transfusion Council from Maharashtra, and State AIDS Society of Madhya Pradesh and Uttaranchal were presented awards for their work in this area. The Health Minister also released various posters on the occasion towards creating awareness for voluntary blood donation. Almost 200 college students had gathered at the Dr RML Hospital to donate blood. The Health Minister interacted with them and appreciated their initiative.