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Since 1st March, 1999
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Blood blues spark protest

Cuttack, Feb. 16: Chanchala Moharana from Tangi had come to Central Red Cross Blood Bank here with a hope to get a bottle of blood for her six-year-old son Biswajit, who is suffering from thalassemia.

However, the 45-year-old woman was disappointed after finding the transfusion ward locked at 10am today.

“It is very surprising that no step is being taken by the authorities to solve the problems at the thalassemia transfusion ward. Most of the time, we have to return home without getting blood for our children from the unit,” she said.

Not only Chanchala, but also other parents, who had also come to get blood for their children faced the similar problem.

The agitated parents staged demonstration outside the thalassemia ward in protest against the callous attitude of the Central Red Cross Blood Bank authorities.

The protest was staged against the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the thalassemia ward that is lacking minimum facilities, including a qualified doctor, for blood transfusion.

Youth Congress activists also supported the agitation that continued for nearly two hours today.

“Most of the parents are not getting regular blood supply for their children which is causing lot of inconvenience,” said president of the All Odisha Thalassemia Parents’ Association Mrutyunjay Kar.

The association was formed in December last year to solve the problems faced by parents for blood transfusion, medicine and other issues.

Kar said, the thalassemia ward was established in 2004 and had been functioning without a doctor for the last two years. A nurse and an attendant are carrying out all the works at the ward.

As per an estimate, there are 15 lakh to 20 lakh thalassemia carriers in the state. There are 506 registered thalassemia patients and 20 unregistered, who are getting blood transfusion at the thalassemia ward here in the city.

“We are totally dependent on the thalassemia ward as the cost of blood transfusion is around Rs 1,500 at private nursing homes and clinics where as the cost here is only Rs 450, including Rs 160 for a single unit of blood,” said Manju Swain, another parent from Telengabazar.

Director of the Central Red Cross Blood Bank Benudhar Satpathy said he was not aware who had locked the gates of the ward.

He also refuted the allegations of irregularities in supply of blood to the thalassemia patients.

“We have been providing blood to thalassemia patients without any exchange of blood. Similarly, 18 blood transfusion is being done against 12 bed capacity at the ward,” said Satpathy.

Satpathy said a doctor had already been appointed for the ward and he would soon join duty.

Besides this, a proposal by Red Cross has been sent to the state government for establishment of a thalassemia unit which will be helpful to the patients.