India 3 mn blood units short in tackling health emergencies

June 14th, 2009 - 6:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi June 14 (IANS) India needs around nine million units of blood every year to tackle several health related problems but faces a shortage of at least 33 percent, a medical body said Sunday, observed as the World Blood Donors Day.
According to the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohematology (ISBTI) as against the requirement, the annual collection in India is mere six million units of blood.

“There is an acute shortage of blood, and India with a population of over one billion is still struggling to meet ends in terms of blood donation. The percentage of voluntary blood donation is just 60 percent and the problem can be handled once more people come forward to join the noble cause (blood donation),” said R.N. Makroo, secretary general of ISBTI.

To encourage people to come forward, the medical body along with Indraprastha Apollo Hospital felicitated 28 blood donor organisations and 60 individual donors Sunday at the India Habitat Centre here.

“Blood donation is a community movement and we want people to come forward and donate blood,” said Makroo, who himself has donated blood 105 times.

V.N. Hurkat, who has donated blood over 100 times, told IANS: “Blood cannot be produced like agricultural produce. It needs to be donated for saving priceless lives. I have always felt humbled by donating blood and I believe more awareness campaigns must be organised to encourage people.”

Author and motivational speaker Shiv Khera, who was also present on the occasion, encouraged people to donate more blood. “Donating blood for a family member is different from donating to an unknown person. There is a different pleasure in saving lives.”

Makroo also urged blood banks to improve blood safety by incorporating latest testing technologies and also emphasized the need for blood components. This year the theme of World Donor Day 2009 is 100 percent voluntary plasma donation.

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