Every two minutes someone needs blood in India. According to a study by India Spend, India faces a shortage of 1.9 million blood units every year. This problem has reached new heights in the time of COVID-19 wherein social media is flooded with requests for blood from family members because the blood donation camps have come to a halt due to the lockdown. Some NGOs are working relentlessly in this domain to meet the demand for blood in India. One blood donation can save up to three lives and hence every donor counts. In our series on World Blood Donor Day, let us look at the top 3 Non Profits working to solve the blood crisis in India.
1. The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS)
The first Blood Bank was started in India by Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) in 1942 at All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Calcutta (West Bengal).
In 1977, the blood bank started operating from the Indian Red Cross Society, National Headquarters (IRCS, NHQ). The Blood Bank runs round the clock and provides services to needy patients.
The IRCS NHQ Blood Bank collects about 25000 units of blood annually which amounts to about 10% of the total blood collected in Delhi. The IRCS (NHQ) Blood Bank is fully equipped to collect blood at its premises and also has mobile vans, which go out frequently to hold Blood Donation Camps. In the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, IRCS started conducting blood donation camps by sending mobile vans to different areas of Delhi as early as 13th April 2020. The blood bank provides 90% of the total collection of blood free of service charges to the patients admitted in the General Ward of Govt. Hospitals in Delhi as well as to 975 Thalassemic patients registered with it (which is about 50% of all the Thalassemics in Delhi).
Bloodconnect started with a helpline for blood donation but now provides a 360-degree solution to the problem of blood shortage in the country.
NSS IIT Delhi launched BloodConnect on 1st April 2010 with an objective of solving the problem of blood shortage in India. India can meet all its blood needs if an additional 2% of India’s youth donates blood. Bloodconnect is completely youth-run organisation and has established a channel connecting blood donors to those who need blood
They run a 24X7 blood-helpline manned by volunteer college students who handle the request and manage the donor database. They also conduct various awareness drives in the form of street plays and competitions to encourage people to donate blood. The Bloodconnect initiative has helped save thousands of lives over the past decade
3. Sankalp India Foundation
Rakta Kranti, an initiative by Sankalp India Foundation aims to bring in 100% voluntary blood donation and ensure continuous availability of safe blood. The Sankalp India Foundation Team has collected over 100,000 units of blood since inception by organizing over 1000 blood donation camps. Sankalp India Foundation deserves special accolades for arranging 65-70% of their yearly collection during the critical blood shortage period i.e. April – July and November – January.
They also run Disha – A blood helpline which serves as the first point of contact for blood emergencies. They collate data from 65 blood banks across Karnataka on a daily basis and help people directly to the nearest blood bank. The Emergency Team also maintains www.bombaybloodgroup.org an initiative for wholesome management of Bombay blood groups – an extremely rare blood type. The Foundation is always in the news nationally as well as Internationally for meeting the needs of this rare blood group.