Monday, July 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Professional donors’ blood not always safe
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Despite Supreme Court directions to curb trading and commercialisation of blood, the fact remains that even today 50 per cent of the donors are professionals, thereby increasing the dangers associated with transmissible hazards to the recipients.

With a large number of blood banks virtually being converted into blood shops, ,the need for eliminating high risk donors and exclusive dependence on voluntary sources is being felt even more to ensure safe blood for transfusion.

“Having remained associated with a number of medical institutes, I had the opportunity to visit different places in the country, where I discovered that the situation was deplorable, which needs desperate remedy,” disclosed Dr J.G. Jolly, who is not only a transfusion expert in the country but also has started post-graduation courses in transfusion medicine at the PGI and Lucknow.

Dr Jolly, says that the situation is alarming not only in private hospitals and nursing homes and even some government medical colleges and hospitals depend largely on professional donors. During my visits to blood banks all over the country I discovered that though enlisted as voluntary donors in official records, most of them were professionals,” he elaborates.

A person receiving blood from a professional donor is at high risk, and the latter for whom it is a business, will never disclose if he has some infection or ailment. Though it is mandatory to screen the donated blood for transmissible infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, VDRL and malaria, but often this is skipped during an emergency .

“Blood donation from the inmates of a jail where use of drugs and homosexuality is very high, should be avoided,” observes Dr Jolly. He regrets that even is jails there are professional donors, as an inmate gets a month’s remission in his jail term if he donates blood.

National statistics reveal that against a requirement of 7.5 million units of blood, only 4 million units are available for the country’s population. Of the total blood donated more than 50 per cent of it is consumed in 15 metropolitan cities.

Dr Jolly, who claims to have seen blood shops being run virtually in khokhas, outside hospitals in certain cities of Punjab , laments that despite a lot of talk about development of voluntary blood programme in India, there is little improvement as there has been an increase in the number of commercial establishments catering to the blood requirement of nursing homes and private institutions .Surprisingly almost 50 per cent of the medical colleges do not have self sustaining blood centres and as such are forced to depend on nursing homes and private institutions. The situation in Bihar, UP, Assam, Orissa and the north-eastern states, is deplorable.

He suggests that the need of the hour was to establish an effective autonomous national blood transfusion council for the development of blood transfusion services in the country. "There must be postgraduate training course, MD in transfusion medicine at the leading medical institutions in the country so that there is no dearth of specialists”.

It is felt that community involvement in voluntary blood donation movement would go a long way in putting a curb on trading and commercialisation of blood to a great extent. The active involvement of the Red Cross for coordinating the activities of all the NGO’s engaged in donor motivation drive can too help improve the situation.



Eye care for the poor and elderly
HelpAge gives Rs 5.40 lakh for free operations
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
For all the poor and the elderly who can ill afford the treatment of their eyes, here is some help at hand. HelpAge India, which has about two decades of working nationwide for the cause and care of the elderly, has now chartered a plan for the region whereby free cataract operations will be performed on the poor elderly people.

The plan, which had earlier been chalked out, has finally received the approval of HelpAge India, which has decided to forward Rs 5.40 lakh as grant to Shubhkarman Health Care Society, with its base hospital at Morinda.

With the grant which has already been approved available for health care purposes, the Society in question will organise about 1100 free cataract operations at its base hospital at Morinda in Punjab.

Following the approval of this grant by HelpAge, the first instalment of the same was released by Col Madhukar Berry (retd), General Manager, Lake Club, at a special function organised for the purpose at the same venue yesterday. The first instalment of Rs 2.70 lakh was presented to Dr Charanjit Singh, president, Shubhkarman Health Care Society, who also talked at length about the programme which will facilitate health care for the poor and old people of the region.

The current grant has been extended by HelpAge India under its ongoing nation-wide programme called the Restoration of Vision Programme, which targets the elderly suffering from cataract problems. Helpage India has long been working for the well being of old persons throughout the country. As of today, there are 77 million elderly persons in India. About 40 per cent of them are living below the poverty line. Another another 33 per cent are living just above the subsistence level. Despite the best efforts of the government, the country lacks infrastructure for providing care to the elderly, especially the poor.

That is exactly where the grants extended by HelpAge people come handy. The focus here is on the care of disadvantaged old persons. The Institution has, till today, supported about 3084 projects at the cost of 184 crore. As informed by Mr Bhavneshwar Sharma, Senior Executive Officer, HelpAge India, Chandigarh, “These projects are of the nature of old age homes, day care centres, adopt a granny programme, nutritional improvement, income generation, cataract operation.”

Meanwhile, HelpAge is already conducting more than 60,000 free cataract operations per year for the poor older persons under their Restoration of Vision programme, thus enabling them to lead a life of dignity and independence. It is now extending its support to the region of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also.



Sonia concerned over cholera cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The All India Congress Committee President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, enquired about measures being taken to tackle the cholera outbreak in the city.

The issue came up during a meeting between Ms Gandhi and the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee general secretary and the party councillor, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, in New Delhi yesterday.

Mr Sharma informed the AICC President that the city was gripped by cholera last week and the Municipal Corporation had launched a massive cleanliness and sanitation drive to prevent recurrence of diseases in the city.

Mr Sharma and two former Youth Congress presidents from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh had gone to meet Ms Gandhi to convince her that with the change of youth units in the most of states, there was a need of accommodate second-rung leaders amongst youth.

The Congress councillor also suggested to rope in those non-party activists in the party who had supported individual candidates during the past elections.

Mr Sharma also discussed the organisational matters of the local unit but did not divulge details.

The Congress councillor also said the party had a lot of talent in the youth wing but it had not been taken care of in the new reshuffle and only youth wing presidents had been accommodated in the reshuffling of the youth wing.



Drop in diarrhoea cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The outbreak of cholera in Sector 52 and Dadu Majra seems to have been contained as only three patients from these areas were hospitalised today, though the number of persons who have tested positive so far at the General Hospital has risen to 37.

The Deputy Medical Superintendent of the General Hospital, Dr K.K.Garg, said the culture of 37 patients had tested positive whereas only three fresh cases had been admitted today. No diarrhoea patient was admitted to PGI today.

The health authorities continued with their information and education campaign in all colonies and slum areas, where the chances of outbreak of diarrhoea are high due to the unhygienic conditions prevailing there.

The authorities are keeping their fingers crossed as they feel with the onset monsoons the situation will get worse.




250 examined at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
A team of 15 doctors treated patients suffering from arthritis, diabetes, acidity, blood pressure and heart problems at a free ayurvedic camp organised at the Arya Samaj office, Sector 7, here today.

The camp, which was inaugurated by Mr Ravinder Talwar, was jointly organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Ayurvedic Maha Sammelan and the Sarv Bharatiya Ayurvedic Samiti, Chandigarh.

Over 250 persons received medical advice and free medicines from a team of specialists.


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