In 2003, we saw a man die in an ICU. The family of the man was running from pillar to post looking for blood donors! The pain, agony and helplessness led to the formation of Sankalp India Foundation. For some time after that, we continued to see blood banks as institutions where blood should be provided when when there is a need. We continued to maintain donor lists! As we worked through the blood requests - we realised that by waiting to donate blood when people need, we were actually ensuring that the family goes through very anxious time. We realised that we had to rush donors to the blood bank. What if the same donor who donates in an emergency had donated as and when he/she was free? What if blood bank had plenty of blood available in the blood bank - so much that the blood bank need not have to ask for replacement or wait for donors? Trusting the innate goodness of all, we accepted our mistake, said a good bye to our databases and switched to voluntary blood donation program in a true sense.
It was only after some time that we realised that the shortage of blood in the blood banks was often artificially created. Many blood banks did not intend to go for outdoor blood donation camps. There was a large group of blood banks who did not feel the need to go and participate in outdoor blood donation camps. A blood donation camp is reasonably time taking and effort intensive for the blood bank. They felt that by arm-twisting the families of the patients coming to their hospitals for replacement donation, they could continue to have a beeline of blood donors and avoid participation in blood camps.
“14 years on the fight is still on! We are ashamed that we still have more than half of the blood banks - almost every blood bank attached to a private hospital, who are unwilling to participate in outdoor blood donation camps. We are ashamed that they continue to harass families to bring in donors. So deep is the rot, such open is the show that it is almost advertised as a new form of philanthropic opportunity.”
Do we really need to wait till a person pleads us to donate blood? Should blood banks not keep enough blood in stock all the time?
The answers are one sided and clear - blood banks need to take the responsibility of organising blood! If they can't, they must SHUT DOWN! However, the larger question is how long will it take for we the people to recognize this deep rooted rot in our blood banking tradition and take a stand against blood banks demanding families to provide replacements.
Please support the cause we fight for.
Please also express disagreement and oppose us with the power of arguments and logic as much as you like.
But, please do think.