Source: The Week/Google

Donating blood is a divine experience and I wish every healthy individual stretches out his arm to give blood so that many a life can be saved, says Past President Sudarshan Agarwal of Rotary Blood Bank, New Delhi, and former 
Governor of Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

"Blood donation in India is better than what it was a few years ago, but it is not a happy situation yet. There are many issues that need to be tackled. The first and foremost is the fact that most blood banks are still giving whole blood, while it should ideally be separated into three different components—RBCs, fresh frozen plasma and platelets. The National Aids Control Organisation should encourage component separation throughout the country.

Next, we need to encourage voluntary blood donation because it is the only way we can get quality blood. Despite Supreme Court guidelines on a writ petition filed by H.D. Shourie, replacement donation by professional donors continues unabated. It is sad that in a country of 1.2 billion people, we cannot get 13 to 14 million units of blood a year.

Not much effort has gone into motivating people to donate blood. Besides, hospital-based blood banks find it convenient to ask the patients' relatives to find donors so that they don't have to make any efforts to organise blood donation camps. I strongly feel that hospital-based blood banks should not be a profit-driven enterprise. This goes against the ethics of blood donation."

Rotary Clubs have set up a number of blood banks in different parts of the country purely as a public service. 

Sudarshan Agarwal was part of the team that helped establish the Rotary Blood Bank in Delhi.

"Inspired by its success, I motivated the medical fraternity in Dehradun to set up India's largest voluntary blood bank in the accident-prone hilly state of Uttarakhand," Sudarshan Agarwal  points out.

"If young people are encouraged to donate blood on special occasions such as their birthdays and wedding anniversaries, there will be no shortage of blood in life-threatening situations. I firmly believe that blood donation creates an egalitarian, caring and compassionate societySudarshan Agarwal  says.