Courtesy by: himvani.com
Winters in Shimla have always been a nightmare for the patients who require blood transfusion to save their life. At Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, particularly, patients coming from the tribal and other far flung areas of the state used to face a lot of difficulties in arranging blood as in severe cold conditions the shelves of the blood bank remained almost empty. The reason was less voluntary blood donation camps during winters and no decrease in the demand of blood. But the winter season started from December 2009 is slightly different from the past years.
Umang Foundation, a public welfare trust, keeping in view the grim situation, decided to start a campaign of four voluntary blood donation camps and a drive to focus on the rights of the children with Thalassemia. The campaign was launched by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal along with the Health Minister Dr. Rajiv Bindal on 11th December, 2009 to celebrate the World Human Rights Day.
Mr. Ajai Srivastava, Chairman of Umang Foundation, said, “We tried to play the role of a catalyst. Our campaign was just to make local NGOs believe that during severe winters also, people can be motivated to donate blood. In our camp on 11th December, 50 units of blood were collected. After that some other organizations like Ashadeep, Save Life Mission and Sant Nirankari Mission etc. came forward to organize camps. This is the first winter in the history of Shimla when so many blood donation camps were conducted.”
The second camp of Umang Foundation was organized in collaboration with The Christ Church and YMCA Shimla on 20th December in the Church compound. During the Christmas celebration of one and half century old Christ Church, the blood donation camp was inaugurated by Rev. P.K Samant Ray, Bishop of CNI, and 40 persons donated blood in the camp. The third camp at the Ridge was held on 1st January to mark the New Year celebrations and in total 80 units of blood was collected. Mr. Narender Baragta, Horticulture Minister of the State, inaugurated the programme. The 4th and last camp of the series was organized on 14th January to celebrate Makar Sankranti, the Hindu Festival of donations. Defying snow and biting cold wave, as many 40 persons donated blood in the camp. Hundreds of people gathered at the Ridge to celebrate the festival with the children with Thalassemia.
It is pertinent to mention that all these camps were dedicated to the children with Thalassemia as this issue is at the top of the agenda of Umang Foundation. “During this campaign, we tried to make people aware of the genetic blood disorder called Thalassemia. Apart from this, we motivated hundreds of people, particularly youth and girls, for blood donation. We are the only organization to organize four blood donation camps in Shimla during severe cold. And if the need be, we are ready to organize one or two more such camps in this season”, added Ajai Srivastava.
The Chief Minister, while inaugurating the campaign on 11th December, had lauded the efforts of Umang Foundation and said that it provided more than 700 units of blood to the blood banks of Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital and Ripon Hospital of Shimla in the calendar year of 2009. It was a big achievement of the Foundation when Chief Minister accepted its two major demands and announced to establish a separate Thalassemic ward and an Eye Bank in the I.G.M.C. Hospital, Shimla.
Dr. Sandeep Malhotra, Blood Bank Officer of I.G.M.C., Shimla, said, “These camps created history and helped us in a very crucial period to save life of hundreds of patients.” And that is not all! A large number of dedicated voluntary blood donors associated with Umang Foundation donated blood at the blood banks in emergency.