"THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AHMEDABAD RED CROSS SOCIETY "
The British Government, after the II world war and failure of the League of Nations, started establishment of National Red Cross Societies in their colonial nations. The Act 15 of 1920 established the Indian Red Cross Society in 1920.
Subsequently the Indian Red Cross Society Ahmedabad District was established in 1923. The collector Shri Garret became the 1st President and Sir Ramanlal Nilkanth became the Hon. Secretary of the Society.
The members went around the Government Civil Hospital, Military hospital and Mental hospitals and helped patients by providing to them medicines, fruits, transport on their return journey to their own place etc. They provided warm clothing to poor in the winter and provided shelter to flood victims.
In 1960, at the inception of separate State of Gujarat, the Ahmedabad branch under the able leadership of Dr. V. G. Mavalankar took up new project of promotion of voluntary blood donation movement. Dr. V. K. Vani, the Secretary of State Branch helped in establishment of 1st Red Cross Blood Bank at Civil Hospital in 1963. This was followed by all the other hospital blood banks in the city and idea of Red Cross Blood Grid took up. The central motivation for blood donations, organising of outdoor blood donation camps, providing blood donor cards, felicitation of veteran blood donors was kept by the Red Cross. The tapping of the
The duo went around educational institutions, delivered lectures, demonstration camps and personally donated their blood. The awareness caught up the public attention in the 1`st decade - Sixties. The 2nd decade was of gain. In 1980 the Gujarat State collected maximum no. of bottles (those days blood was collected in glass bottles) among the State Red Cross Branches and in 1981 the National Red Cross trophy was awarded to the Gujarat State Branch for highest achievement. Shri Mahesh C. Trivedi, the then Joint Secretary of the Ahmedabad Red Cross Society was awarded a special certificate of meritorious services in the field of motivation for blood donation.
The 3rd decade brought the clinical services to the thalassemia children, a very special project for the Ahmedabad Red Cross Blood Programme. It was started in 1983 when the institute was to celebrate its diamond jubilee. Instead of construction activity for the branch though we had no building of our own we deferred that idea.
We were very keen on using the blood for some specific purpose. We were collecting more than 6000 units of blood and the blood was made available to all patients in the hospitals on the replacement condition where the relatives or friends of the patient will donate blood. Even under these trying circumstances we decided to spare some blood to go to patients in need without the condition of replacement. We were advised by the Dr. Shashiben Vani to arrange for free transfusion clinic for patients of thalassemia. The diseases is once diagnosed and nothing remains to be done except transfusing blood periodically. There is no medicinal help and whatever needs to be done, the patients can refer to Civil Hospital.
The blood transfusion clinic for thalassemia was started in 1983 when Dr. Shriram Lagoo, the noted State and TV artiste came and inaugurated the clinic by donating his blood for the cause. This was a Sunday clinic, which was converted as weeklong clinic. The number of patients started rising and as on today we have 700 patients on our register who are helped. Today 12-15 children are given blood transfusion on weekdays. And on Sundays 25-30 children are allowed the service. The blood transfusion is totally free, where the medical officer, the technician and other ancillary staff are on duty.
The cross cousin relatives of the patients are also tested for thalassemia minor and counseled as required. As many as 35 % of them were found to be healthy carriers of thalassemia. We have also proposed to start testing blood of unmarried youth of colleges and school, especially those belonging to Muslims, Sindhis, and girls institutions. Last year in 2002 we programmed 4500 testing of blood from the above community for thalassemia minor or healthy carriers of thalassemia. We had around 6% of them belonging to thalassemia minor.
The thalassemia patients are being provided the services of experts from other specialties, like hematologists, cardiac physician, pediatrician, surgeon, and psychiatrist once in a month so that the patients can discuss their problems and get information on various aspects on development in the world of medicine and interact on related issues.