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Promotion of Voluntary Blood Donation through Indian Red Cross
New Delhii, December 12th, 2007

Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Honourable Chairman Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India inaugurated the Red Cross State Branch Secretaries Meeting on “Promotion of Voluntary Blood Donation” through Indian Red Cross Society today at National Academy of Agricultural Sciences Complex, Pusa Campus, New Delhii. Addressing the meeting, the Chairman said that “ today I would call upon the IRCS to take a lead role in blood handling services, as the Society has more than 12 million members and volunteers and even 30 % of those donate would be sufficient to meet the country's need! On the health ministry initiatives he informed the participants that today we are in the process of opening state of art blood banking facilities in the four metros. These blood transfusion centres will help in providing a trained cadre of experts on blood transfusion which is the need of the hour. In addition a model blood bank would be present in each state, and the same would be replicated in districts along with these, storage units would also be set up in rural areas so that emergency cases can be attended. Another major emergency issue being the ambulance service, in which the ministry is making a major investment through which anywhere in the country by dialing a toll free number a well equipped ambulance with trained staff will report in 8 – 12 minutes.

Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS informed “As per the statistics of National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), 5.1 million units of blood are collected every year. The demand of blood is very high and there is deficient of 30-40 percent of blood as per WHO norms. Voluntary contribution is only 55 percent. He further stated that “Our future plan is to widespread the importance of voluntary blood donation with the aim of recruiting, retaining voluntary and recognition of non-remunerated blood donors”.

Dr Mohamed Shaukat, Joint Director NACO said that IRCS has a major role to play in blood collection and transfusion services in the country. He added that under NACO phase III programme the plan had not only focused on “safety” measures but also on the blood donor motivation, retention and awareness elements related to blood safety. Further he said that our target is to reach 95% of voluntary blood donation in the country.

Dr. Salim J. Habayab, World Health Organization Representative, India congratulated IRCS on such initiative and highlighted the fact that technical assistance has been reversed with IRCS training WHO staff through the post graduate diploma course in Disaster Preparedness and Rehabilitation. Further he said that 81 million unit of blood is collected at a global level in a year and only a very small part is contributed by the Asia Pacific though they are the major consumers. However India has a better rate. He looks forward to further strengthen the service provided by the Society.

The Indian Red Cross since 1962 has been active in the arena of blood services. It is running 108 blood banks across 14 States and contributes 10 percent of total collection of blood in India. IRCS proposes to expand its number of blood banks in all the states and district branches and also to start blood storage centers in cooperation with Natural Rural Health Mission.

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