Blood Donation Camp held at Indian School of Business

June 13, 2010


Hyderabad: Students at the Indian School of Business (ISB) organised a one day voluntary blood donation camp in collaboration with Red Cross Society, Hyderabad recently. This was the tenth consecutive year that the camp was held at the ISB campus.

The entire ISB community – students, staff, faculty, spouses and alumni – donated blood, with 175 units being collected. The donated blood will be mainly used for children in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka suffering from Thalassemia, a genetic disorder which afflicts 1 out of every 8 Indians.

On the occasion, Shiv Kumar, head of Co-curricular Activities at the ISB said, “I donate every year during this camp since voluntary blood donation costs nothing but gives the donor a great feeling of pleasure, peace and bliss. This is our tenth year & I am glad the fervour of students and staff has only increased with each opportunity to donate blood. We had a record collection of 260 units in 2009.”

Dr Komal Jagdish, who supervised the camp, was extremely delighted with the turnout. She said, “Blood from this camp will be used by Red Cross’ Hyderabad transfusion centre which handles 1200 Thalassemia patients every month. But, in summer months, donations usually go down. We are thankful to ISB since this is the only camp we managed this month.”

GU yet to make thalassemia screening compulsory

January 3, 2010

Courtesy by:

Even as four years have passed since the state government directed the universities to make screening of thalassemia patients compulsory in colleges, Gujarat University (GU) is yet to implement the same.

According to the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), all government universities in the state have made the screening mandatory, except GU, even as the maximum number of students (nearly three lakhs) are enrolled there.

GU Vice-Chancellor Parimal Trivedi could not be contacted, but IRCS Executive Director Prakash Parmar told The Indian Express, “In 2005-06, state Education Minister Anandi Patel had asked all the 11 government universities in Gujarat to make the screening compulsory by charging Rs 100 per annum.”

Then followed the directives of state Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas and former Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma.

He added: “In other universities, which include the four agriculture based Ayurvedic University, Sardar Patel University, M S University, Veer Narmad University and Saurashtra University — thalassemia screening has become mandatory. Nearly five lakh students study in these universities.”

According to IRCS, thalassemia screening among youth is important because in some communities like the Lohanas, Memons, Sindhis and Kadva Patels from Saurashtra, nearly 25 per cent members suffer from this blood disorder.

“Since in most cases the carrier is thalassemia minor, the genetic trait is ascertained only after the marriage. And by that time, the damage is done,” Parmar said. He added: “This congenital disorder has a prevalence of five per cent in other communities as well.”

Red Cross tests expectant mothers for thalassemia traits

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by:

The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Ahmedabad, has become the only centre in the western region to determine legal abortions if tests confirm that the expectant mother carries the dominant genetic strain of thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia in her baby.

Thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia is present in certain communities only in Gujarat.

IRCS has started Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to detect thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA). From these tests, early diagnosis of expectant mothers can determine if the embryo is carrying the thalassemia or SCA genetic trait. If the embryo is found carrying these traits, the parents can approach their district civil hospital and with the consent of the civil surgeon, can opt for legal abortion.

“At present, nearly 10,000 people have thalassemia in Gujarat. One thousand thalassemia patients are expected to add up every year. IRCS along with the Gujarat Health Department had started SCA and Thalassemia screening five years ago, but there are certain cases where married couples carrying these traits have come to know about their genetic disorder only after the delivery of the first child. Early diagnosis will help these couple, if they are planning for a second child,” said IRCS Executive Director Prakash Parmar.

He added: “After we started the PCR test this year, 25 thalassemia minor married couples were tested, of them one had to undergo legal abortion, while the rest have delivered healthy children.”

Parmar said in case of SCA, five married couples were tested. Two had miscarriage, while three went for the tests. One case each was reported from Jambughoda Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Panchmahals, Sagbara PHC in Narmada and Devgadh Baria PHC in Dahod districts.

“Of these, only the cases from Devgadh Baria showed genetic traits of SCA and had to undergo abortion,” he added.

Parmar cited a case at Sabarkantha district where a thalassemia minor couple opted to take the advice of the village ‘panch’ after their first child died. The village panch guided them to carry out tests at IRCS.

He added: “IRCS has approached the state Health Department to carry out early tests for expectant mothers at Ahmedabad in case either of the parents is carrying the SCA or Thalassemia genetic trait. We have sent a proposal to the Health Department asking them to do early tests for expectant mothers at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital,

V S Hospital, L G Hospital, Shardaben Hospital, ESIC Hospital and the Sola Civil Hospital.”

Free treatment of thalassemia soon in Vadodara

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by:

In a bid to make blood transfusion readily available for patients of sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia, the Red Cross Society and Kashiben Gordhandas Patel (KGP) Hospital will now be providing the facility free of cost. The move follows a finding that many patients forego treatment of sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia due to the high cost of blood transfusion.

“We are presently conducting over 75 blood transfusions every month and every patient has to undergo it twice a month. As most of the patients are from the tribal belts and are economically backward, they usually forego the treatment as it is difficult for them to fork out the amount,” said Dr Jagdish Patel, Honorary Secretary, KGP Hospital.

One sitting for blood transfusion costs between Rs 700 and Rs 800. “The patients will not have to pay for the hospital stay, medical fee or laboratory charges either,” Patel added. While there are ongoing programmes of screening and awareness drives for sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia, there are several obstacles in the continuous treatment of the patients.

Man adopts 10 kids suffering from thalassemia

October 30, 2009

Courtesy by: timesofindia

RAJKOT: In an exemplary move, a philanthropist adopted 10 children suffering from thalassemia major and minor for a lifetime at a function here

on Thursday. Jagatsinh Jadeja will ensure regular blood transfusion of these children through out their lives.

“The major concern of the parents of a thalassemic child is regular blood transfusion to be done every two years. In order to relieve the parents of this burden, I decided to do my bit by taking responsibility of 10 children,” said Jadeja, former sarpanch of Ribada village.

Jadeja is also conducting a blood donation camp on November 3rd in the memory of his late brother Ramdevsinh Jadeja.

According to Gujarat chapter of Indian Red Cross Society, several government hospitals across the state are approached for adoption drive of thalassemia kids. Mostly, philanthropists in the memory of their deceased kith and kin go for such charity. “In the past nine years, there have been 18 blood donation camps organized especially for thalassemia patients,” said an official from the Red Cross Society.

Thalassaemia screening made compulsory at 11 state universities

May 10, 2009

Courtesy by:

Ahmedabad The state Health Department has now made it compulsory for all the 11 universities across the state to do Thalassaemia screening of the students from the academic year starting next month.

Two years ago, the department had decided to rope in universities to facilitate the screening with the help of the Indian Read Cross Society (IRCS)’s state branch. But it found little success in the initiative to detect Thalassaemia-Minor cases that are otherwise undetected in the absence of any symptoms.

“The programme was launched two years ago under the umbrella Thalassemia Prevention Programme of the government and is to be implemented with the help of the IRCS. The idea was to rope in universities and colleges to facilitate the screening, but apart from one or two universities, none have taken it seriously.

The detection of Thalassaemia Minor, which otherwise does not interfere in the normal lifestyle, is necessary because if detected it can prevent the offspring being born with Thalassemia Major. When two individuals with Thalassaemia Minor marry there is a 25 per cent chance that their child will be born with Thalassemia Major. Therefore, two individuals with Thalassaemia Minor should not marry. This is the easiest ways to reduce the number of new cases.”

While the programme had failed miserably past two years, General Secretary of IRCS Dr. Madhuben Naik said: “A total of five universities were roped in for the programme but owing to lack of interest, it remained a failure. Even when we visited the universities and persuaded them, the initiative to forward the letter to the affiliated colleges had to be taken by the universities itself. Infact, with the present directive issued in February, we have taken the initiative to visit individual colleges affiliated to the Gujarat University apart from meeting Vice-Chancellors of each university, even if we do not have the power to direct them. We are an autonomous body that facilitates the health department. We cannot direct.”

The Thalassemia Prevention Program in Gujarat was launched in five years ago.

Five universities (Gujarat University, South Gujarat University, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Saurashtra University and North Gujarat University) were roped in by the health department for facilitating screening of students for Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell anaemia in 2007

Thalassemia Day: Gujarat has 7,000 patients

May 3, 2009

Courtesy by:

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

The state government’s programme to conduct thalassemia tests in the universities has proved to be a major flop show. In the last four months tests have been done on less than 5 percent students. This is despite the fact that thalassemia is increasing at a fast rate and Gujarat alone has nearly 7,000 patients.

Thalassemia is a common genetic disease. It can be detected by blood test only. A child starts losing haemoglobin by 12 months and has to be given blood transfusion frequently throughout his life. Blood transfusion alone does not solve the problem. This also causes iron deposition which may lead to organ failure and consequently death of the patient. To deal with this iron is removed by expensive iron chelation injections.

In India every year nearly 10,000 children are found with thalassemia. Though various NGOs and some medical organizations have been conducting programmes about the disease, lack of awareness is still a major problem which has resulted in rise in number of patients.

May 8 is World Thalassemia day and on the occasion city based Thalassemia Jagruti Foundation has organized an entertainment programme for the patients. Secretary of the foundation Dr. Anil Khatri said that lack of awareness is the major reason for this disease. Though it is genetic and is found more in some communities.

Ahmedabad alone has nearly 1,000 thalassemia patients which are increasing every year. Blood transfusion is a costly process and at times risky too. He said that there are five patients in the city who have developed HIV infection after transfusion.

The foundation and other NGOs have made representations to the government for providing financial assistance to thalassemia patients. The response is good, that is what Dr. Khatri has to say when asked about the steps government had taken. The government has given approval to a proposal for free travel to thalassemia patients in ST and AMTS buses. It is likely to be implemented in a month.

The Red Cross Society is conducting thalassemia test programmes in various colleges throughout the state. But the response of the students is poor, Prakash Parmar, Progamme Manager Red Cross society said. He said that in Ahmedabad there are nearly 75,000 college students and only 5,000 have undergone tests.

Wagh Bakri group is actively involved in prevention of thalassemia.

Blood procurement made easier for thalassemia patients

April 1, 2009

Courtesy by:

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: The Indian Red Cross Society, which supports 50 per cent of the Capital’s thalassemia load, is in the process of revamping its system to make the procurement of blood for the patients more convenient. A part of the Society’s modernisation drive, the revamping will allow patients to make use of a more efficient and useful blood bank.

“We are in the process of modernisation and the entire process will take nearly five to six months. The process of procuring blood for thalassemia patients will undergo a revamp with us introducing two new systems to make the process more quality efficient,” said Vanshree Singh, director blood bank, Indian Red Cross Society.

Under the new revamped system, the Indian Red Cross will be offering ‘leucodepletion’ — where the white blood cells have been depleted — and introduce Sagam bags which will ensure that the blood can be used for longer durations.

“The process of procuring Sagam bags from the Delhi AIDS Control Society has already been initiated and we should be getting them soon. The Indian Red Cross caters to over 900 thalassemia patients who are dependent on the Society for blood transfusion,” said Dr. Singh.

A lakh Indians affected

Statistics reveal that in India thalassemia major affects over 1,00,000 people and over 8,000 reported thalassemia births take place every year. There are, however, many more unreported cases as well.

The most common treatment for all major forms of thalassemia is red blood cell transfusion. These transfusions are necessary to provide the patient with a temporary supply of healthy red blood cells with normal haemoglobin capable of carrying the oxygen that the patient’s body needs. Today, most patients with a major form of thalassemia receive red blood cell transfusions every two to three weeks.

“As red blood cell transfusion is the most common treatment, the blood banks play a pivotal role in this. It provides free of charge red cells to over 900 thalassemic patients out of the over total registered 2,500 patients in Delhi,” said a senior official at the Indian Red Cross Society.

Give the gift of life

March 18, 2009

Courtesy by:

HICKORY – Newton resident Rose Shoestock went to Wal-Mart Saturday morning, but she didn’t go to shop.

While shoppers streamed past the Red Cross bus eager to return unwanted gifts or take advantage of the post-Christmas sales, Shoestock was inside, sitting back with her feet up doing what she does every eight weeks — giving blood.

“I come out every 56 days on the dot,” Shoestock said explaining that she considers donating blood her civic duty. Her father and brother were in the military and their devotion to duty has inspired her to do her part and give back to the community.

Benita Singleton, a nurse with the Red Cross, is grateful for regular donors like Shoestock, especially around the holidays, because blood supplies tend to run low during the Christmas season.

More people are traveling, busy or sick during this season, and, although the Red Cross would love to have as many donations as possible, people battling the flu, colds or even a sniffle are discouraged from donating, Singleton said.

In her eight years with the Red Cross, Singleton has seen a lot of first-time donors who were nervous about donating blood because they worried they might get woozy or pass out. They discovered, after donating for the first time, that it’s really not such a big deal after all.

Singleton said the bus was in front of Wal-Mart for four 1/2 hours Saturday, and her goal for the day was to get 30 donations. She nearly made it. Twenty-eight people came out to donate Saturday. That’s enough donations to save 84 lives.

“One donation can save at least three people,” she said, and that’s the whole reason the Red Cross holds blood drives.

More people tend to donate blood when the mobile unit sets up at shopping centers because they find it more convenient, Singleton said. As an added incentive during the holidays, everyone who donates blood will get a free T-shirt (while supplies last), in addition to the usual after-donation snack.

“Blood supplies are low right now,” Benita said. “If people can come out and donate, it sure would help us out.”


• 4.5 million Americans benefit from life-saving blood transfusions each year.

• 40,000 pints are transfused each day in the United States.

• 1 out of every 3 people will require a life-saving transfusion sometime during their lifetime.

• Someone in this country needs a life-saving transfusion every 3 seconds.

• Transfusion recipients include cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, newborn babies, transplant patients, mothers delivering babies, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, etc.

• Each donation of blood can help save 3 lives following component (red cell, platelet, plasma) separation.

• Much of today’s sophisticated medical care ( transplants, heart surgeries, etc.) rely on blood transfusions.

• Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions.

• Severe burn victims may need as many as 20 platelet transfusions.

• Bone marrow transplants may require platelets from more than 100 donors and red cells from more than 20 people.

• Blood products are perishable.

• Donated red cells last only 42 days.

• Donated platelets last only five days.

• Plasma can be frozen for a year.

• The need for blood never takes a holiday.


• Nearly everyone between the ages of 17 and 75, weighing a minimum of 110 pounds and in good health can donate blood. Donors over age 75 who are healthy and meet all other donor requirements simply require a doctor’s written permission note to donate.

• 60 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood; yet on average only 5 percent of Americans donate.

• People can safely donate blood every 8 weeks.

• People can safely donate platelets every 3 days or up to 24 times a year.

How Blood Works:

• Red cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.

• Platelets act like band-aids to form clots and stop bleeding.

• Plasma is the liquid through which blood cells, proteins, enzymes, nutrients and hormones “swim.”

• White cells, also called “leukocytes,” are the body’s primary defense against infection.

• The average person has between 8 to 10 pints of blood in their body and can easily spare one for donation.

• After donating, blood volume is replaced, or regenerated, within 24 hours. Red cells need 4 to 8 weeks for complete replacement.

• There is no substitute for human blood.

Red Cross secy offers his blood and toil for thalassemia

March 12, 2009

Courtesy by: TimesofIndia
Ahmedabad: On 26/7, Mahesh Trivedi was a busy man. Till 2 am, he was managing things at Red Cross as people, many first-timers, rushed in to donate blood for the blast victims.

But, his real mission in life is tackling thalassemia and exhorting people to donate blood. Gregarious and blessed with a hearty sense of humour, the honorary secretary of Red Cross Society, Ahmedabad, is a popular man and this helps him spread his message.

“Before getting married, couples should first take a thalassemia test. If both are thalassemia minor, the girl should tie a rakhi to the boy instead of them exchanging rings,” he joked recently while addressing students of MG Science College. His light take on the grave subject had the youngsters in splits, but would also have led them to ponder.

Trivedi, 69, who retired as controller of examination of an Industrial Training Institute (ITI), delivers at least 90 lectures a year in schools and colleges in the state.

“I have been associated with Red Cross since 1969. After retirement, I decided to work full-time ,” says the man who doesn’t believe in wasting a moment.

Red Cross recently launched a project to prevent birth of thalassemia major children by 2020 in collaboration with Ahmedabad district panchayat. The idea is to eradicate thalassemia from the state. Trivedi is playing a major role in the project, the key to which is raising awareness levels.

This year, Ahmedabad Red Cross celebrates the silver jubilee of its blood transfusion services for those afflicted with thalassemia. So far, it has adopted more than 700 thalassemia major children. They are provided blood without replacement, free blood transfusions and oral tablets. And, if any child is in trouble , it’s Trivedi who is contacted.

“This kind of devotion is rare. Others are inspired by him because he sets an example by his own actions . He’s the right man to promote blood donation, as he has himself donated 117 times,” says Mukesh Patel, president of Red Cross Society, Ahmedabad.

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