With an aim to encourage voluntary blood donation and emphasizing its role in providing lifesaving safe blood, Thalassemia Patients Advocacy Group (TPAG) and Thalassemics India kick-started a mega blood donation drive today, i.e., #raktdaanamritmahotsav.
The campaign, organised in association with Roche Diagnostics India and Apollo Hospitals, will target colleges in 15+ cities inviting students of 18 years and above to donate blood at nearby Apollo sites across Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, and Delhi. The campaign would also reiterate the importance of adopting safe blood screening practices to reduce the burden of transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs) in the country.
Speaking about the initiative, Anubha Taneja Mukherjee, the member secretary of TPAG said, “India accounts for almost 10 per cent of the total global incidence of Thalassemia who need regular blood transfusions. Most of them were impacted by the shortage of blood during the pandemic, hence campaigns like #IPledgeRED are extremely important to raise awareness among the youth about the need for voluntary blood donation. Alongside, I would also urge everyone to educate themselves about blood safety screening so that infections like HIV, Hepatitis B&C can be avoided during transfusions.”
She further added, “Keeping in mind the government’s mission of Universal Health Coverage by 2030, providing safe and adequate blood is fundamental to India’s healthcare ecosystem and voluntary blood donation thus becomes an essential component that saves millions of lives across the globe. Initiatives like these not only create the much-needed awareness about safe blood practices like voluntary blood donation and screening methodologies but also reiterated how collaboration with the private sector within the healthcare ecosystem is an obvious way forward to make healthier tomorrow a reality.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), blood donation by 1 per cent of a country’s population is usually taken as the minimum need to meet the basic requirement for blood. India with a population of 1.4 billion requires 14 million units of blood annually. However, this donated blood needs to be screened thoroughly before it’s made available to the general population for transfusion. Patients with thalassemia who require regular blood transfusions to maintain their haemoglobin levels are more susceptible to contracting transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs).