Appeal to make blood donation a habit

Thalassemic children seek help of Delhiites There are more than 2,000 patients in Delhi and they require 3,500 units of blood per month and about 35,000 units of blood in a year

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: Appealing for the gift of life on the occasion of World Blood Donor's Day this Tuesday, thalassemic children here in the Capital have asked Delhiites for something very personal this year: make blood donation a habit.

Totally dependent on regular blood donation to stay alive, the thalassemic children have sought the help of "Delhiites with a heart" to procure 3,500 unit of blood per month, enough to cover the requirement of the registered thalassemia children in the city.

Asserting the fact that "thalassemics want to live not just exist", children registered with Thalassemics India, an organisation working in the area, have put forth their problems, which do not allow them to lead a comfortable life and often even forces them to buy blood illegally.

"The Indian Red Cross Blood Bank has been helping 870 thalassemic children by giving blood free of cost. Other regional blood centres, including Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, LNJP Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyya Hospital, Hindu Rao Hospital and Rotary Blood Bank have been helping thalassemia patients by giving blood,'' said Thalassemics India secretary, Shobha Tuli.

"This, however, is not sufficient and the children at times face acute shortage of blood. Ill children are then forced to wait for several days till their turn comes on the blood availability list. And it is in this light that the children have issued the appeal,'' she added.

Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder and children need one to two units of blood each month for maintaining a normal haemoglobin level in the body. "If the patients do not receive blood on time their haemoglobin goes down, they feel weak till the time they receive their next blood transfusion. Lack of co-ordination among blood banks and zero emphasis on thalassemia prevention has caused a situation where in Delhi alone 15-20 children are added to the list each month and the supply of blood is not able to keep up with the demand. Sadly, there is no one reliable one-stop point for blood procurement where the process is simplified for these children,'' said a health official.

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