By Ujjwal Roy
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], June 15 (ANI): On the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, AMRI Hospitals has launched a drive where anybody donating blood voluntarily will get a confirmed vaccine slot across any of the three units of AMRI Hospitals in Kolkata-- Dhakuria, Mukundapur, and Salt Lake.
The unique drive, which was launched on June 14, on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, is expected to encourage voluntary blood donation, particularly among the youth, in view of the shortage of blood at most blood banks across the city.
Launched from AMRI Hospitals-Dhakuria on Monday, the drive has already received a good response, and many people have expressed interest in donating blood.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Ritam Chakraborty, Head, Transfusion Medicine and Blood Bank at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, said, "We were facing a deluge of requests for blood, which we initially managed with the donation from some of our doctors, staff, and NGOs. Keeping in mind the shortage, we had to come up with this unique idea, since on one hand there is a shortage of blood and on the other hand, there's a dearth of vaccine slots."
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Dr Chakraborty pointed out that COVID-19 has thrown up some real challenges for the blood donation sector. Our pool of donors has completely dried up due to the cancellation of blood donation camps and the general fear in the mind of people due to chances of getting infected at these camps, which are often crowded. However, the demand for blood has not gone down even during the pandemic. Some patients need blood throughout the year, like those suffering from thalassemia, blood and other forms of cancers, kidney failure, and those undergoing regular dialysis.
Rupak Barua, Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals, said, "Today, on the occasion of World Blood Donors' Day, we have launched this special programme, under which anybody donating blood will receive a confirmed vaccination slot at any of our hospitals, be it for themselves, any family member, or a friend so that when they are saving a life by donating blood, they can also safeguard themselves against COVID-19. We appeal to everyone that our hospitals are safe so that anyone can visit and donate blood to save a life."
Barua added, Since the pandemic started last year, all private hospitals are facing a major issue: a shortage of blood; all our blood banks are almost dry now. This is mostly because, during the pandemic time, we could not arrange any blood donation camps. Also, many people are unwilling to visit hospitals to donate blood due to the COVID-19 situation.
The wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had severely constricted the supply of blood. The lockdown has restricted movement, so regular donors living far from a hospital or blood bank cannot donate, and finding new donors in nearby areas is a challenge, all these factors combined to create a severe shortage of blood. People do not want to go to blood banks, and especially blood banks within hospitals, because of the fear of getting infected with COVID-19. (ANI)