EXPECTANT mothers in rural India will soon have access to a vital blood bank service thanks to generous donations from the Capital.
Rotary club Foundation chairman Mohindra Dhall paid a visit to Jawhar, in Maharashta State, central India, last year while involved in a project to provide aid for a drought.
The 74-year-old was moved by the poor state of the local cottage hospital, where there was a shockingly high maternal mortality rate of 3.7 deaths per 1000 due to lack of pre-natal and post natal facilities. Mr Dhall, of East Craigs, said: “There was no blood bank within about 150km. Relatives were having to go to get bottles of blood for their family, a journey which could take around eight to ten hours.”
The project kicked off last year with donations of £3260 from the Rotary Club of Edinburgh and more than £2600 from their counterparts in Mumbai. A major campaign was launched, securing support from rotary clubs in India, America and Scotland, which eventually raised around £63,250. This has been matched by the government of Maharashta State.
Mr Dhall said: “We are providing international support but the work on the ground is being done by the Rotary Club of Mumbai West Coast.
“There has been a great deal of support from rotary clubs all over the world.”
The construction of the Jawhar Blood Bank is expected to be finished by the end of the month. They will also buy a mobile blood bank van which will be able to organise blood drives across 2000 rural villages in the area.
Edinburgh Rotarians will also be helping those closer to home by taking part in a blood drive on Friday, June 12 at the Edinburgh Blood Centre, in Lauriston Place.
Andy Ireland, incoming district governor of Edinburgh and South Scotland, said: “We are involved in projects all over the world, with the eradication of polio as our key goal.
“We are always looking to help with new projects and I was very interested to hear about the need for blood banks in India.
“That’s why we are also getting as many people as possible along to donate in Edinburgh. If people can do this on a regular basis then we can help to maintain stocks.”
Health bosses are calling for donors to come forward as part of Blood Donor Week in Scotland this week, which culminates on World Blood Donor Day on June 14.
Dr Moira Carter, associate director of Donor Services at SNBTS, said: “There are eight different blood groups and here in Scotland we must maintain 5-7 days of all groups at all times.
“We are asking donors to support us over the summer by knowing their own blood type “So this is not just about today or this week, this is about supporting patients over the whole summer by matching their donations to patients’ needs.”
For more information please visit www.scotblood.co.uk.