School students cheer for Red Cross in Bokaro on Tuesday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Volunteers in Dhanbad celebrated World Red Cross day on Tuesday, organising a blood donation camp at Chandmari, but more importantly, the members resolved to expand activities of the group that was revived in the coal capital on August 15, 2010 by none other than Dhanbad deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar Burnwal.
Operating from a single-storey building near Golf Ground in Dhanbad since 2001, Red Cross Society of Dhanbad ceased to operate after 2005, primarily due to members losing interest.
Ever since it was revived in 2010, it has been organising various activities that included blood donation camps, health camps, camps to distribute tricycles to the needy and organising disability certificates for the specially enabled.
Led by Burnwal as chairman, the members also launched a Junior Red Cross Society in schools with the aim of spreading health awareness among children by organising seminars, debates, essay writing and painting competitions.
Highlighting the activities of the society, secretary P.K Bhagat said at present the Dhanbad wing had around 400 members of which around 50 were institutional members like hospitals and nursing homes.
“Recently, an NGO Raftaar Foundation, provided us with an ambulance and we are offering its services at a nominal rate of Rs 8 per km,” Bhagat, who is also the state’s tuberculosis control officer of Dhanbad, said.
The society, in association with district social welfare department, had also distributed more than 100 tricycles to the physically challenged. It has also donated two deep freezers, each with a capacity to store about 300 units of blood, to the blood bank at Patliputra Medical College and Hospital.
Four doctors of the district health department, an orthopaedic, an ophthalmologist, an ENT specialist and a general physician regularly visit the society office in Dhanbad on the first Friday of every month to issue disability certificates to the deserving.
“Although we don’t have facilities to run an OPD as we can’t employ any staff, but we provide all kinds of medical help, as well as financial support, to the needy,” Bhagat said.
The programme director for the society’s voluntary blood donation project, Md Allauddin, explained that due to the initiative of Red Cross blood donation had picked up from 600-700 units to over 4,000 units in a year.
“Last year, we organised over 12 camps from June 12 to July 12 to mark World Blood Donation Month during which around 250 units were collected, surpassing our target of 240 units,” he said, adding they were now planning to celebrate World Blood Donation Month on a larger scale this year.
The society, he added, would also award certificates to over 100 individuals who donated more than one unit of blood in a month, in association with Jharkhand AIDS Control Society to commemorate World Blood Donation day on June 14.