A friend in need
The biggest problem that patients and their kin face in this regard is lack of coordination between blood banks of different government and private hospitals. Inexplicably, these banks do not maintain a shared database on the quantity, type or component of blood they have in stock. So a patient and his/her relatives are forced to either rely on ‘connections’ in blood banks or unscrupulous racketeers.
Some conscientious Delhiites and activists have set up a string of private blood banks and an extensive network of donors who can prove to be life saviours in crisis.
The Rotary Blood Bank, an initiative of Rotary Clubs collects blood at their camps regularly and the same is preserved and imparted to patients at their Tughlakabad Institutional Area centre. It is a three-storey facility stocking 1500-2000 units of blood at any time of the year.
Camp in charge Sonu Singh says, “We provide blood to those holding BPL cards and servicemen for free and others are charged nominally. Those who donate blood to us are given a card for free transfusions at any of our centres in the City and outside, for a year. We also provide platelets, which have to be freshly extracted as they can’t be stored for long, to Dengue patients.”
Even more convenient are 24x7 helplines set up by certain youth in the city which connect you with voluntary blood donors in any part of the city, absolutely free of cost. Blood On Demand (BOD) has a network of 50,000 volunteers in Delhi and 3 lakh volunteers across India. They can be approached on the number 9266666666 any time of the day.
Its founder GS Kapur informs Metrolife, “We believe that blood is the safest in a human body. Blood after extraction, has a shelf-life of three days to six months. Litres of donated blood is wasted worldwide every day after it has crossed the expiry date. So when you donate to a bank, you really can’t be sure if it will be used. However, when you provide blood ‘on demand,’ you can actually see your timely help saving someone’s life.”
Friends2Support.org is another such voluntary organisation which has recently launched its mobile application too. Its Delhi Coordinator Jaydeep Gupta says, “My friends and I started this group after seeing a close relative die for lack of blood. I also know how frenzied things get when a medical crisis like the Dengue outbreak happens. Platelets, which are otherwise available for Rs 1,700 per unit, are being sold at Rs 4,000 these days.”
“We are glad to help people in our own small way. Everyone should come forward to donate blood. You can donate whole blood every three months and just platelets every seven days.”