Attempts to foil Health Minister’s assurance; only the rich to get safe blood!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In reply to an adjournment motion moved by Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan on 1st September 2012, Health Minister Dr. Damodar Raut had assured that Orissa would adopt NAT PCR system to ensure appropriate screening of blood to avoid AIDS from transfusion.

A boy of only 17 months was found infected with AIDS by accepting transfusion of blood obtained from Muncipal Hospital Blood Bank, Bhubaneswar. The news was broke by in 8 July 2012 and Sri Harichndan had very ably brought the matter to the attention of the Assembly.

Dr. Raut in his reply noted that people of Orissa have made monumental mark in blood donation and from 126076 units in 2000; blood collection has reached 307022 units in 2011. People’s eagerness to donate blood to save the lives of fellow citizens needs be equally honored by the government’s readiness to supply safe blood to needing patients through proper screening. Therefore, Dr. Raut said, in a meeting on 22 August 2012 the Government had consulted all the Blood Bank Directors and Officers in a conference and had taken a decision to jettison the rapid test method of screening and adopt ELISA method to screen out AIDS virus in the Blood Banks.

As Harichandan pointed out that ELISA is not the latest technology to screen AIDS virus, but NAT PCR is, the Minister had appreciated the position and had assured to adopt the latest method; for nothing is more valuable than human life and moreover, as patients’ confidence in blood banks would diminish if AIDS virus escapes the deficient screening. He however had declared that the method being costly, the State would start with four major blood banks: one each attached to the three Government Medical Colleges and the Capital Hospital Blood Bank. The facility would be extended to all the Blood Banks of Orissa in course of time, he had assured the Assembly.

The Budget of Health department placed in and awaiting approval of the Assembly has made a token provision for replacement of ELISA with NAT PCR in the aforesaid four Blood Banks.

But, the Finance department has planted a rider that the cost of NAT PCR screening should be collected from the patients. If the rider is not dropped, only the rich will benefit; because the poor patients cannot afford the screening cost.

The present Finance Minister was the Minister of Health when deficient screening through old method of ELISA had infested the seventeen months old child with AIDS and the Orissa High Court had punished the state Government with cash penalty of Rs.3 lakhs for supply of HIV infested blood to the boy without perfect screening. When he is the Finance minister, his department is asking the Health department to impose such a heavy cost on poor patients on accounts of NAT PCR that it will never be possible for them to get pure blood through perfect screening!

Should the poor people have no right to safe blood? Should the latest and the safest NAT PCR screening for which the government in the Health department has put budgetary provisions on the anvil of the Assembly be available only to the rich?

Should the Finance department be allowed to foil the most welcome welfare proposal of the Health department?

Should the Assembly allow its own anxiety for safe blood to patients be steered into benefit of the moneyed men alone?


Members of Orissa Society of Electronic Media (OSEM) donated over 50 bottles of blood on October 07:in a camp at Soochana Bhavan, Bhubaneswar.

Information minister Mr. Arun Sahu and Khurda M.L.A. Mr Rajendra Sahu were present at the camp along with OSEM patrons, Prasanta Patnaik, Sampad Mohapatra and D.N. Singh. President of the organisation Amiya Pani along with Sabyasachi Panigrahi and other members conducted the camp under Bhubaneswar Blood Bank’s active cooperation and guidance.

A number of ladies also donated blood.

This was the second blood donation camp organized by OSEM. Last year it has organized a camp on 1st October 2011, the World Blood Donation Day during which over 100 bottles of blood were collected. The OESM has kept a target to collect more blood in the coming years. Besides organizing mass blood donation camps, members of OSEM also donate blood to needy and poor patients liberally as and when required.

Journalists on Anvil Advance Blood Donation Campaign

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal organized a blood donation camp in its campus on Friday to mark the Blood Donation Day that enlivened its Joy of Giving Week celebrations.

The students and staff members voluntarily donated the blood along with Dr.Mrinal Chatterjee, head of the institute. It was a collection of 28 units of blood, which is donated to Red Cross Society, Dhenkanal.

The camp was organized with the help of Dhenkanal District Blood Bank. Mr.Biranchi Pani, President of Dhenkanal District Blood Association and Dr. Balabhadra Ram coordinated the camp.

The IIMCians are also observing Joy of Giving Week (JoGW) this week. Kindness to the needy children, the old aged and other marginalized sections of society constitute the core of the mission of the JoGW

The students and staff members visited the Maharsi Dayananda Service Mission Orphanage, some five kilometers away from the district headquarter on Sunday. They spent the whole day with the kids and old age people.

The budding journalists organized several programmes in the orphanage including song, dance, hopscotch and games. They also distributed cloths, toys and teaching-learning materials to kids. (IIMC-Dkl)

Red Cross Celebrates the International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was observed by the Family Counseling Center of Indian Red Cross, Orissa State Branch with a symposium on ‘Equal rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for all’. Eminent women activists, students of social work institutions and bureaucrats were assembled in a common platform to discuss and review the shortfalls of the campaign and chalk out the strategies towards a meaningful change.

Inaugurating the event chief guest Prof (Dr) Asha Hans, Vice President IRCS-OSB emphasized that development in social and economic status may be obtained by conscious management of collective issues.

Addressing to the audience Dr. Mangala Prasad Mohanty, Honorary Secretary, IRCS-OSB said that women empowerment could be achieved if welfare schemes formulated promulgated by the Government are diligently executed.

Dr. Seba Mohapatra, Dr. Bijaya mishra and Smt Basanti Pani were the other prominent participants.

The FCC, IRCS-OSB also organized a voluntary Blood Donation Camp by women volunteers to help the sick and suffering men and women those are in need of blood transfusion.

There was a debate competition on women empowerment organized by the women activists along with several other cultural items like recitation of poetry written by the participants. Awards were given to the best performers in every category.

The events were coordinated by Dr Jharana Swain and Mrs Anuradha Goswami , FCC counselor , Indian Red Cross Society, Orissa State Branch.