A Reassuring Trend
Sometimes, bad times bring out the good in people. It is heartening to know that people of Nagaland rose to the challenge and saved lives when dengue fever gripped the state, especially in Dimapur, Chumoukedima and Mon districts. The demand for platelets surged with the increase in the number of dengue cases, especially during the peak of the outbreak, compelling the people to take to social media platforms for possible donors. But unlike in the past, when healthcare workers used to complain about people not coming forward to donate blood, no such murmurs were heard this time. In fact, it was the other way round. A health expert in-charge of a blood bank in Dimapur has revealed that a significant increase in the number of first-time blood donors, particularly the youths, has been witnessed this year. People were seen standing in a serpentine queue at the District Hospital Dimapur, waiting for their turn to donate blood. And unlike the common scenario where most donors seen at blood donation camps are non Nagas, majority of the first-time donors who responded positively to the health crisis this year were said to be Naga youth. Several organisations also reportedly come forward to help address the surge in platelet demand, contributing immensely in mitigating the crisis. This change is reassuring. The fight against the disease is not over yet with dengue cases still coming in but the state is certainly in a better position to address the crisis today, than it was a few months ago. The trend, if maintained, will help deal with other health emergencies in the future.
Health experts have underscored the need for creating awareness about the importance of donating blood and to improve network of blood banks across India, as about 12,000 patients reportedly die each day due to delayed access to blood transfusions. Unfounded myths surrounding blood donation, including risk of blood-borne infection, depletion of blood supply, etc., along with public apathy and uneven distribution, compound the shortage of quality blood in the country. Wastage of lakhs of units due to lack of proper storage facilities is another issue that needs to be addressed. It is vital to ensure availability of quality blood, as millions of people need blood transfusions during surgeries, after meeting with accidents and other health complications, on a daily basis. This calls for the need to have a systematic network among the blood banks and healthcare facilities for robust distribution as well as more Good Samaritans. When a unit of blood can save up to three lives, everyone can be a lifesaver.