Feature Blood Donation

More blood for India

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7166 (Published 28 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7166
  1. Sanjeet Bagcchi, physician and medical journalist, Kolkata, India
  1. drsanjitbagchi{at}gmail.com

What can India do to collect all the blood it needs through voluntary donation, asks Sanjeet Bagcchi

“By donating a unit of blood a year a person can get more blessings than by going to a place of worship,” said Harsh Vardhan, then union health minister, launching “national voluntary blood donation fortnight” on 1 October. With this date already established as “national voluntary blood donation day,” Vardhan urged people to also turn their birthdays into opportunities for donating blood.

“We have a shortfall of 2-3 million units [of blood] per year in India,” he said. Through enhanced voluntarism we can easily make up the deficit.” Vardhan has since moved to take charge of the Ministry of Science and Technology, with J P Nadda replacing him as union health minister. But it is unclear whether Nadda will go ahead with the campaign Vardhan initiated.

Vardhan announced a social movement similar to that behind India’s success with polio: “Today India is finally free of polio thanks to the social movement which we could inspire.” He said he wanted to use the same techniques to “motivate more people to join in the endeavour to bridge the demand-supply gap in blood.”1

In a country of more than 1.2 billion people, this target was reachable in a year, he pointed out, saying the campaign would include “all educational institutions, doctors belonging to various streams across the country, in addition to volunteers, blood banks and other partners agencies such as WHO [the World Health Organization].”2

Blood shortage

In 2012 Sourabh Aggarwal and Vishal …

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