Ravi Sarwad, a 37-year-old financial analyst, is on top of the list of donors for several blood banks in the city. Sarwad has a relatively rare blood group — A -ve. “Whenever there is a major operation or a transplant, the blood bank gives me a call and I make it a point to be there… the feeling of saving a life… by donating blood, is priceless,” said Sarwad.
Prakash Dadlani, 60, has donated blood over 100 times. Dadlani, whose ‘mission’ is to donate blood every three months, will donate blood for the 108th time on June 30.
Shankar Mugave, 49, is set to donate blood for the 85th time. Mugave works as the social service superintendent in Sassoon General Hospital and is also pursuing a PhD on the contribution of blood banks to public health. For his PhD, Mugave said he has interviewed at least 25 persons in the city who have donated blood over 100 times.
The number of blood donors, such as Sarwad, Dadlani and Mugave, has been increasing in the state.
According to the state Blood Transfusion Council, Maharashtra usually reports the highest amount of blood collected in the country. From 3.6 lakh units in 1997, blood collection from donors in the state rose to 14.41 lakh units in 2012. Last year, 16.27 lakh units of blood were collected in the state, said Arun Thorat, head of the state Blood Transfusion Council.
Blood given by donors is used to save the lives of severely anaemic women and children, accident victims who suffer excessive blood loss, surgical patients, those with cancer, thalassemia and other blood disorders, said Thorat.
Maharashtra was recognised for the highest blood collection in the country, said Dr Poornima Rao, secretary of the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohematology. The state has 332 registered blood banks, 28 of them in Pune, which saw about two lakh blood units collected last year.
“While June 14 was celebrated as Blood Donation Day, we used the occasion to organise multiple drives this month,” said Dr Snehal Mujumdar, director of blood transfusion services at Ruby Hall Clinic. “In June, we organised 14 such blood donation camps and collected 511 blood units.”
“We have a list of blood donors who hail from different walks of life… there is a married couple which unfailingly donates blood. Young students are also extremely eager to conduct blood donation camps and enroll others,” she said.
On Tuesday, Ruby Hall Clinic’s blood bank held an event to felicitate several blood donors. It also organised a competition for the best poster to encourage blood donations.
The number of donations was increasing, said 62-year-old Ram Bangad — founder of Raktache Naate — a trust that has 40,000 members spread across the country and encourages blood donation.
He said recently, he had taken a 20-member team to Kashmir to participate in a blood donation camp.
Bangad, who donated blood for the 124th time in May this year, said blood banks should encourage more donation camps. The organisers should ensure that 10 per cent of the blood collected in these camps should be given to poor patients, he said.