Friday, July 12, 2024

Pioneers of the 70 years of Voluntary Blood Donation in India

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WHO is celebrating the World Blood Donor Day on June 14th with a theme – “20 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors”. However, India pioneered this initiative 70 years ago in 1954 by Mrs. Leela Moolgaokar, Padma Shri receipt for her commendable work in Voluntary Blood Donation. Rotary Bangalore TTK Blood Centre proudly recognizes “70 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors!”

The first records of voluntary blood donation initiatives in India can be traced back to 1942, during the time of World War II when the first blood bank was established in Kolkata, West Bengal to take care the blood needs of those injured in the battle field. Employees Government and industrial houses volunteered to donate blood for this humanitarian cause. But this enthusiasm waned once the war ended.

A decade passed by till Mrs. Leela Moolgaokar, a renowned social worker, and one of the pioneers in voluntary blood transfusion, initiated a blood donation drive in Bombay (now Mumbai), inspired by her son’s injuries, from 1954 onwards. For her work in voluntary blood transfusion services in India, she was awarded the Padma Shri in 1963.

The 1960s showed expanding efforts – Kolkata (Jadhavpur University), Ahmedabad and Delhi (Red Cross Societies) and Chandigarh (Blood Bank, PGI along with a group of voluntary social workers, Blood Bank Society).

In 1971, Prof. J.G. Jolly, a physician and professor of the Department of Transfusion Medicine, took up the movement to further heights by spearheading the movement against professional blood donors. Motivated by this, Ms. Kanta Sarup Krishen along with like-minded friends established the Blood Bank Society Chandigarh (BBS) and worked for the cause of voluntary blood donation. She was also the founder secretary general of Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohematology (ISBTI), a post she held for 45 years.

In 1973, Dr. Shanthi Ranganathan, today known more for her work in the area of de-addiction, started Madras Voluntary Blood Bank to mobilise voluntary blood donation to support the blood needs of Government Hospitals in Chennai.

To celebrate this, the Rotary Bangalore TTK Centre, BMST, achieved 100% blood collection from voluntary donors from all the blood centres.

Let us all salute these pioneers and their legacy. It is up to us now to carry forward their work and achieve the aim of 100% voluntary blood donation in India.

Dr. Narasimha Swamy. L.

Medical Officer

Rotary Bangalore TTK Blood Centre, Bangalore

(The above press release has been provided by NewsVoir.)

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