Kabal Singh from far flung area of Doda was all in tears sitting near the shrunken body of his sleeping 12 year old day son Sanjay,who was diagnosed of having blood cancer just a few days back in the SMGS hospital. Feeling helpless,his new worry is to arrange blood for his son,who will require it on a regular basis initially. Like Sanjay,there are hundreds of other children with blood cancer who require the blood,especially in the initial period when their haemoglobin is quite low and later during the chemotherapy.
The SMGS,the main referral healthcare hospital for children of the entire Jammu region is fraught with shortage of blood,with hospital authorities having to resort to NGOs,local channels and FM radio at the times of emergencies. On Monday,a group of youngsters under the banner of New Young Blood Organisation came forward to help such children with blood cancer. Nearly fifty youths donated blood,so that the same could be used for saving the lives of these children. The blood donation camp was inaugurated by National Conference MLA Bimla Luthra.
Sources said that the annual requirement of the blood in the GMC and SMGS Hospital is around more than 42000 units while as the availability of the blood on an average is less than 34000 units.
Head of the Paediatrics department at SMGS Hospital Dr Ashok Gupta said that on an average they have nearly eight to ten children admitted in the hospital who are undergoing treatment for the blood cancer. He said that when these children are diagnosed of having blood cancer,their haemoglobin is generally low and they need blood transfusion. After that when they undergo chemotherapy,to normalize their platelet count,they again require blood. Some times,we find great difficulty in arranging the blood,especially if it is a rare group. Then we seek the assistance of the local channels and NGOs,he added.
Mohinder Kumar,whose three year old son Pankaj is also suffering from the blood cancer,said that he is making a list of his relatives who can donate blood so that he can source the blood through replacement,when ever he requires the same. I will do anything to save the life of my son,he said in a choked voice.
Ashok Verma,president of the New Young Blood Organisation said that the parents of such blood cancer stricken children approach them for blood regularly,as they are unable to source the same. You can understand the condition of a family whose three or four year old child is diagnosed of blood cancer. They are so frustrated that many times they dont know what to do and whom to approach. The people from remote areas are the worst hit as generally only one or two family members accompany the patient. Verma said that they are doing it for the cause of such children,who under no circumstances should become the victims of the shortage of the blood in the hospitals.
Nearly eighty per cent of the blood available with the hospital authorities is sourced through replacement. Sources in the hospital revealed that awareness campaigns run by the health department and other agencies have failed to make people come forward for the voluntary blood donation. In August last year,over 40 people from different voluntary organisations donated blood in Blood Bank of SMGS hospital on an appeal made by the Medical College authorities to donate blood as the hospital was facing blood shortage following large number of injured in the Amarnath agitation reporting to the hospital.