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Majority of blood donors in Nagaland are non-Nagas

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jun 14, 2022 2:13 am
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blood donors
Voluntary blood donors seen donating blood at the District Hospital in Dimapur.

Henlly Phom Odyuo
Dimapur, June 13 (EMN): It took around 16 years for people to come forward to donate blood in Nagaland, be it for patient-oriented or voluntary-oriented donation, while majority of them are non-Nagas, said senior specialist and Dimapur Blood Bank In-charge, Dr. Temsu. 

He told Eastern Mirror on the eve of World Blood Donor Day, which is observed on June 14, that the gap in voluntary blood donation is still wide because of fear and myth, while suggesting practical awareness to bridge the gap.

The blood bank in Dimapur is sufficient for now, which means it does not have blood stocked in abundance, said Dr. Temsu, who has been in charge of the blood bank for the past 15 years, while lamenting that most Nagas are compelled to donate blood for families.

He also said that there were cases where people look for donors even if they are fit to donate.

“There are two kinds of donors – patient-oriented and voluntary-oriented donation — wherein the former donation of blood usually happens within a family circle when a patient is in need of blood, while the latter is a donor who donates irrespective of occasion and situation. Nagas are usually patient-oriented donors, and in Nagaland, majority of the blood donors are non-Nagas and particularly in Dimapur, non-Nagas motivation is high,” he acknowledged on the eve of World Blood Donor Day.

“In Nagaland other than Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung districts, Tuensang, Zunheboto and Mon are doing well, while Wokha is a little back. Longleng needs a lot of effort, while Kiphire and Phek will take some time, and this can be attributed to inadequate infrastructure,” the doctor pointed out while acknowledging that Peren is not active like Jalukie, which is way ahead.

He further said that Dimapur district has a motherly responsibility when it comes to blood donation.

‘A chain of blood donors have started and although the situation is to a certain extent improving, it is still not sufficient,’ he said.

There are three government licensed blood banks in the state — Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung – while the license for Mon, Tuensang and Wokha is in pursuance. CIHSR in Dimapur also has a licensed blood bank. Other private hospitals and nursing home should also have a blood storage centre as per the norms.

Bridging the gap

Ninoto Zhimomi donating blood.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests at least 1% of a region’s population should be donating blood for a sustainable blood ecosystem.

 Dr. Temsu opined that considering the fear and myth surrounding blood donation, it should start from the school-level where students are made aware of their blood group and the importance of blood donation.

At college-level, blood donation should be a motivation so that the cause spreads for a future where we should seek to achieve zero deaths due to lack of access to blood, he said.

What blood donors have to say

A frequent blood donor, Ninoto Zhimomi, said that he started donating blood when he was studying in Uttar Pradesh. He has voluntarily donated blood 24 times (in record) and several other times (off record).

Zhimomi, who is also a part of the Network of Blood Donors group, said that although he realised the need for donating blood a bit late, he now donates every three months.

“It was at a moment when I came across people seeking out for blood that made me realise the need to donate. Also having read that Nagaland does not account for even 1% of blood donors made me donate frequently,” he said.

While donating blood without any expectations, he also tells the receiver’s family to do the same if they could when others are in need. He pointed out “there are some people who do not want to donate blood although they would want others to do so in times of their need. Networking is important, so I convey this message to the receivers”.

Nagas, he said, are yet to pick up the pace as most are reluctant to donate even to their families because of fear. Nagaland requires concerted efforts to enable a self-sufficient blood network. Such disparities can be attributed to lack of awareness, he added.

Another donor, Asad Uddin Ahmed, who is a part of the Muslim Council Dimapur Shukriya Volunteers (Blood Donors group), said that the group had organised two blood donation camps in 2021 considering the low numbers of blood donors and the high number of people in need.

Ahmed said that everyone’s life is in the hands of God but it is the duty of the human beings to practice humanity while asserting that no individual or a family should lose their loved ones because of lack of access to blood.

With 43 members in the Muslim Council Dimapur Shukriya Volunteers, he said not only do the members donate blood during camps or is confined to Dimapur but also donate individually whenever and wherever there is an emergency case. The group also donates voluntarily so that those in need can have access to blood and not wait.

Jenpu Rongmei, another frequent donor who has voluntarily donated blood eleven times (in record), recounted that it was an incident at a hospital, wherein a family was running around searching for blood for their minor daughter, which left him disturbed and felt guilty after reaching home, that made him to be a donor.

“Although I could not donate to the little girl nor know her status, the guilt that I felt motivated me to donate blood, and through blood bank Dimapur, I decided to be a volunteer to donate blood,” he shared.

Rongmei observed that the need for blood is high but the donors are low, while even within the family, blood donation is low.

He said creating awareness is necessary as fear and misconception are stopping people from coming forward and donate blood to save lives.

6107
By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jun 14, 2022 2:13:21 am