Sankalp India Foundation, a Bangalore based voluntary organization started in 2003, achieved a double milestone of having completed 100 Bone Marrow Transplants for children with thalassemia, and have collected 100,000 units of blood through voluntary blood donation drives.
Back in 2003, Sankalp started on a night when an unknown person came to a group of students requesting them to donate blood for his relative. By the time the students donated, the life was lost. The group then began a journey of setting up a mechanism to help people with blood in emergencies, also establishing a statewide helpline for blood – a single number connected to the most quality-oriented blood banks in the state guiding people to places where safe blood is available in 2006.
In the year 2007, Sankalp started organizing voluntary blood donation drives in order to compensate lack of stocks in blood banks. Since then Sankalp has organized over 1200 voluntary blood donation drives collecting 100,000+ units in more than 150 corporate organizations. Most of these blood units have been collected in periods of extreme need of blood thereby ensuring availability of safe blood all through the year in the most reputed blood banks of Bangalore. The blood donation drives are characterized by absolute focus on quality and giving donors a unique and comfortable experience during blood donation. Sankalp has published its findings in the field of voluntary blood donation through various scientific publications in reputed international journals.
Since 2011, Sankalp started working in the field of thalassemia. The organization today manages 5 thalassemia day care centres in Karnataka and Maharashtra looking at the systematic management of nearly 1200 children. These 5 day care centres in Indira Gandhi Institute Of Child Health (IGICH), Project Samraksha at Rashtrotthana Parishat, District Wenlock Hospital, Mangalore and KLE Hospital in Belgaum have been setup by Sankalp in partnerships with the institutions. Using technology platforms highly customized for thalassemia management, knowledge sharing and trainings by national and international experts, and generous contributions by philanthropic individuals, the organization has setup mechanisms to ensure that each child receives the best optimal care possible irrespective of their background. This has brought in a noticeable change in the quality of lives of these children.
Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is today the only mechanism of cure from thalassemia. Due to escalated costs BMT is often inaccessible in most hospitals in India. In 2015, Sankalp setup a unique transplant centre at Bangalore in collaboration with People Tree Hospitals and knowledge, and resource support from Dr Lawrence Faulkner from Cure2Children in Italy. A group of donors generously funded the facility and the transplants started on a not for profit basis at an overall cost of INR 8.5 lakhs including post-transplant supportive care upto 1 year. The commitment to support and quality at this cost is nearly 50% cheaper than any other BMT facility in the country.
3 years now, the centre has completed more than 100 BMTs for thalassemia with an overall survival of over 92% and a disease-free survival of more than 85%. These results are at par with international outcomes and are by far the best in the country.
Over these years, the cost of transplant has been maintained the same. Most of the costs are fund raised by Sankalp via generous contributions from several organizations and individuals. The facility is also the first in the country to be lined up for an international accreditation from FACT-JACIE. IN 2017, Sankalp setup another BMT facility at Ahmedabad where 50 transplants have been completed with equally good results. With over 150,000 thalassemics in the country and about 10,000 being born each year, thalassemia needs special focus.
With focused management and cure facilities, Sankalp has set up a mechanism where each child receives the most appropriate care thereby making thalassemia care accessible to all.
“Our aim is to see that each child suffering from thalassemia receives the most optimal and appropriate care. As an organization, we are working on all 3 fronts – prevention, management and cure of thalassemia to achieve our goal of building a Thalassemia Free India. On the voluntary blood donation front, we have created a system where voluntary drives with excellent quality are conducted in periods of extreme emergencies thereby ensuring safe blood availability all through the year, taking rapid strides towards taking India towards 100% voluntary blood donation” says Lalith Parmar, President Sankalp India Foundation.