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Start a Blood Donor Year

As a culmination of all the events during the world blood donor week, Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society, felicitated the regular blood donors and Blood Donation camp organizers, at the valedictory function organized on 20th of June, 2014, by the Indian Red Cross Society.

Speaking at the occasion Dr Harsh Vardhan exhorted everyone to whole heartedly participate in blood donation programme and proposed a “Blood Donor Year” campaign, where each one who is healthy, comes forward and donates blood. The country receives around 10 million units of blood as against the requirement of 12 million. There is a shortfall of 2 million units which is not a huge target when compared to a vast country like ours, hence instead of WHO’s target to achieve it by 2020, lets scale it by 2015, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Chairman, Indian Red Cross Society, speaking at the valedictory function, World Blood Donor Week.

He appreciated the work of the IRCS and the NHQ Blood Bank which is a model Blood Bank and serves as a nucleus during emergencies like dengue etc. He also said that as 65 percent of the Indian population comprised of youth, any target was achievable. “Heart attacks can be reduced by 85 percent if one donates blood”, he emphasized.

The function was attended among others, by Dr Nata Menabde, WHO India representative, Dr V K Subburaj, Secretary, Department of AIDS Control NACO (MoHFW), Simon Missiri, Head, IFRC (SARD), Mary Werntz, Head of ICRC Regional Delegation, and many senior officals of premiere hospitals like AIIMS and RML.
Dr S P Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS, speaking at the occasion

Dr Menabde spoke about the seriousness of losing so many mothers and children during child birth and how safe blood and access to blood services is an essential component of the health services. She said that IRCS has been a pioneer in blood collection, have the largest spread of Blood Banks and it is a miracle how the society has been able to sustain it for so long. Dr Subburaj, Secretary, NACO said, “India leads in the prevalence of most serious health problems as 20 percent diabetics, 50 percent heart patients and 10 percent cancer patients of the whole world population are here. They need blood during surgeries and this need shall continue to grow in India”. He added that people are willing to donate any part of their body but we need to motivate them and galvanize the system. In his address, Mr Missiri said that he is indeed very proud that the IRCS provides vital blood services to the nation and how Red Cross and Red Crescent works tirelessly to meet the standards set by the WHO. Ms Werntz complemented the blood donors who regularly and selflessly donate blood to save the lives of people whom they do not even know. Commenting on the 2014 World Blood Donor Day theme of Safe Blood for Saving Mothers, she said that saving a mother is like saving a family tree since her well- being affects the whole family.

Speaking at the Blood Donors valedictory function, Dr S P Agarwal, the Secretary General, IRCS said that Dr Harsh Vardhan had set an example by donating blood himself before asking anyone to come forward and do so. Dr Harsh Vardhan had visited the RML Hospital on 14th June 24, 2014 and donated blood, as part of the Government efforts to enthuse and augment the Blood Donation drive in the country.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Chairman, Indian Red Cross Society, donating blood at the RML Hospital, Delhi

The Indian Red Cross Society organized many Blood Donation camps at different places during this World Blood Donor week, one of which was visited by Dr Harsh Vardhan in the morning hours on the same day. The IRCS holds at least one such camp a day to augur the blood supply of the nation.

The source of collection is purely voluntary as it is considered the safest option. The Blood Bank at the IRCS NHQ collects approximately 30, 000 units of blood annually through these camps which are then given to the most needy and disadvantaged. It supports more than 1000 thallassemic children out of the 2500 in Delhi alone. Thalassemia is a major health challenge in India. The IRCS Blood Bank issues almost 90% of the collected blood, free of cost, to those who are registered with it as well as to the
Government blood banks.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Chairman, Indian Red Cross Society, visiting Blood Donation camp organized by the Society

The Indian Red Cross Society has been helping the Indian Government in ensuring a regular supply of safe blood since the inception of its NHQ Blood Bank together with 166 Blood Banks run by its branches. The IRCS felicitates its regular donors every year at this valedictory function, some of whom have donated blood even more than a 100 times.

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