Voluntary blood donation a mass movement in Tripura

June 14th, 2008 - 9:37 am ICT by IANS  

By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, June 14 (IANS) Last year, impoverished rickshaw puller Amar Das was carrying a sick passenger and his wife to the Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital here. The 42-year-old rickshaw puller was moved when he came to know that the patient required blood transfusion. So moved was he by the incident that he made up his mind to become a donor.

“Having dropped the passengers at the hospital, I went straight to the blood bank attached to the IGM hospital and donated for the first time and since then I have donated blood twice and hope to continue,” Das told IANS.

Voluntary blood donation in Tripura has become a movement of sorts with people from all streams of life coming forward for a noble cause. According to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Tripura is ranked third in the country after West Bengal and Maharastra in voluntary blood donation (VBD).

Former separatist leader Ananta Debbarma last month led a VBD camp. “The blood that we have donated is very important. At present we are unable to give anything to people, but we do have hearts. That’s why we are donating blood,” said Debbarma.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is leading from the front to popularise the concept of VBD - he has donated blood four times after becoming chief minister in 1998.

“I have asked all my party workers, club members, students, youths and social workers across the state to donate blood and to encourage everybody to give blood voluntarily to save the lives of the ailing,” Sarkar said.

The Society of Voluntary Blood Donation (SVBD), an NGO, is leading the campaign in Tripura. “Eight years ago, only 22 percent of the total required blood had been collected through VBD, now the percentage is 83.2 percent,” said Nibir Sen, secretary of the NGO.

The Times of India adjudged Sen as man of the year in 2007 for his active involvement in VBD. He has donated blood on 19 occasions so far.

Sen said those men who had donated blood 20 times and women who had donated 10 times were being felicitated. The function is being organised as part of World Blood Donor Day, declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004 to commemorate the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel prize winner, who discovered the A,B,O blood group system in 1901.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

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