Young Blood On A Crusade

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Publication:Times Of India Bangalore; Date:Jun 15, 2007; Section:Times City; Page Number:7


Young blood on a crusade


Bangalore: Four years ago when five youngsters saw a patient die for want of blood, they decided to make a difference. With over 10,000 volunteers, Sankalp India, an NGO, interlinks blood banks and promotes voluntary blood donations.
The NGO has been aiming at promoting voluntary blood donations among students and IT professionals. In the last one year, the volunteers have been crusading for blood safety apart from donor safety.
“It’s been quite a long journey in a short period. But the tragedy is that we have a long way to go, says Rajat Agarwal, an engineer who passed out of the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology.
“Ever since we founded this organisation we have been working tirelessly. Our first step was to unite blood banks. Earlier, no one knew what the other banks stocked. Now, we know where and what the shortage is, he said.
The team, which had five members initially, now has swelled. “Most of our volunteers are students above 16. We hold weekly meetings to design strategies, chalk out plans and review our work. We counsel people to clear myths and misconceptions about donation, he said.
Ironically, Bangalore has just 55% voluntary blood donors against West Bengal which has 95%. The organisation has worked out on simple calculations. The city needs at least 1.30 lakh units of blood. “Even if at least 15% of students and 3.5 lakh IT professionals contribute, we would have an excess of 30,000 units every year, he said.
Why students and IT professionals? The group said they are expected to be low on risk factors and relatively safe. Nevertheless, they warn that all donors should be screened for infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV apart from haemoglobin before drawing blood.
On World Blood Donation Day, the volunteers conducted free camps. Many hospitals and NGOs like Indian Red Cross Hospital, Lions and Rotary organised series of lectures and blood donation camps.

Nursing students take out a procession to mark World Blood Donation Day on Thursday. It was organised by Indian Red Cross Society