New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) At a time when the whole country is facing the wrath of deadly coronavirus and has come to a standstill, humanitarian organisation Indian Red Cross Society is tirelessly working in tandem with the local authorities for the aid of needy, remotely-placed and stranded people.
Talking to IANS, Indian Red Cross Society''s Secretary General R.K. Jain said: "We are an auxiliary to the government and armed forces medical services. Our volunteers are working with local administration to provide masks, food packages and dry ration to people."
Jain said that some state branches of the organisation are running shelter homes, providing pick-up and drop facility for blood donors, imparting psychosocial support and door-to-door delivery of medicines to people suffering from chronic diseases.
Red Cross''s branch in Gujarat has prepared a database of 12 recovered Covid-19 patients who have consented to donate their blood for convalescent plasma therapy, he said.
In this therapy, the antibodies of a person who has recovered from the virus are taken and transfused into a person sick with the virus to help boost a person''s immune system.
For people stranded in different cities, food and ration is being provided by the society. They have also started Family News Service (FNS), which establishes communication between those who are stranded and their families in different states.
Red Cross Deputy Secretary Neel Kamal Singh told IANS that the organization is set to work on a war-footing to abolish stigma attached with the viral disease.
"There is a stigma attached with positive patients, their family and the community. When the government seals an area, it becomes stigmatised. People need to know that it is a disease like any other communicable disease," he added.
As stringent restrictions on movement of people are in force across the country, blood donors are being issued travel passes by the organization, which are racing against time to meet the ever-expanding requirement of blood.
Meanwhile, Dr. Vanshree Singh, who is the director of Indian Red Cross Society''s blood bank said: "We send out vehicles to pick and drop whosoever wants to donate blood. If anyone decides to come by themselves, we send them travel passes on WhatsApp which they can show to the police and come to the blood bank."
The Red Cross also sends out their vehicle at places where at least 25 people are willing to donate their blood and have a small room available for the same. The norms of social distancing are followed diligently, and donors are called inside the room one at a time.
Since thalassemic patients are regular recipients of blood, they are encouraged to motivate their relatives and friends to donate voluntarily to the blood bank.
(Aakanksha Khajuria can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)