29th November 2018, Bangalore
In yet another successful mission to give life a better chance, Sankalp India Foundation shipped 2 units of the rare Bombay blood group for a patient in Myanmar - and this without even a donor needing to come forward and donate in a rush - and without the patient's family having to travel to India to pick the units.
On 22nd November the organisation received an email from Dr Sein Win from the Yangon General Hospital, Myanmar request for help with Bombay blood group for a 34 year old female patient who had undergone mitral valve replacement and had falling hemoglobin in the post operative period. With hemoglobin levels around 5 gm/dl this was an emergency. The patient's sister was found to be of same blood type and had donated already. There is one more known donor in Myanmar who had already donated for the same patient - thus the chance of getting more donors in Myanmar was very slim. Getting someone to come to India to pick the units was possible but a costlier and more complicated process.
BombayBloodGroup.Org is a network setup for proper management of rare blood group units. The team keeps track of donors, available units and blood requests for rare blood groups - now in India and even abroad. This was the time when the organisation was already busy finding units for a patient in Lahore. With no known donors in Myanmar and no relatives of the patient having this blood type, the only option was to ship the units from India.
The organisation identified that there were 2 units of Bombay blood group already available on the shelf at SS Institute of Medical Science, Davanagere. The team coordinated with Dr Kavitha G U and Dr Shashikala P, from the Blood Bank and Dr B S Prasad, the Principal of the medical college there and the plan to send these units was finalised. Then the next challenge was to organise for the shipment. Mr Lakshminarayan from Yashraj Biotechnolgy Mumbai, who has been exporting biological samples for the industry routinely, connected the team to World Courier - who agreed to take the units. Finally Sankalp approached National Institute of Immuno-hematology, Mumbai for permission to send the units out of the country. The Director of the institute Dr. Manisha Madkaikar and the In-charge of Department of Transfusion Medicine Dr. Swati Kulkarni were extremely helpful and provided the necessary permissions. With this the stage was set to put the units inside specially designed temperature controlled logistics packaging and send them. On 29th November the units reached Myanmar via Thailand. Big congratulations to everyone involved.
The team has come a long way from a time when each request for Bombay blood group was a herculean task involving urgent donations. By systematically approaching the problem, building a strong network and proper knowledge management, the system has become highly capable of handling extremely complex blood requirements. For the team it's a moment of joy to see the patient receive the gift of blood - from an unknown voluntary blood donor. From India - with love!