A Report on People's Initiative for Bone Marrow Donation

On August 6, the Organs Donation Day, this year, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti (DDDS) launched a ‘People’s Initiative for Bone Marrow Donation’ at AIIMS, Delhi. The initiative was launched jointly with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Asian Indian Donor Marrow Registry (AIDMR).

Amongst the first persons to give their blood samples and register as donors were Dr. Harsh Vardhan Union Health Minister,  Shri Alok Kumar President, DDDS,  Prof. M.C. Mishra, Director  AIIMS and  Prof. N.K. Mehra, President of AIDMR. Ninety three persons registered as donors on this occasion.

Bone Marrow is a soft tissue found in some bones of our body. It creates stem cells. Stem cells are the mother cells that help in producing various types of blood cells and platelets for a healthy life. Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant is the only option to save life of many patients suffering from blood disorders and diseases like blood cancer, leukemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia and many others. Any healthy person between the age of 18 to 50 years can register to donate.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasized the need of awareness amongst the people and urged the Society to participate in this noble cause. He said that he himself along with his wife had pledged deceased body-organs donation in 1997, in the first Utsav of DDDS. Dr. Harsh Vardhan further said that his ministry shall strengthen the central registry for organs-tissue donations, make necessary amendments in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 and take all other steps for a vibrant modern medical infrastructure in the Country.

Shri Alok Kumar while addressing the people said that millions of donors are required for a fair chance of finding a matching donor. However, only about 3000 donors are by now registered with the AIDMR. Shri Alok Kumar said that DDDS will vigorously work to popularize stem cell donations and to increase the numbers of registered donors by geometrical progression.

Dr. N.K. Mehra, President AIDMR, said that every year thousands of persons with blood disorders reach a stage where only a stem-cell transplant can save them. The family members have only one in four chance of making a suitable match but even this is not always possible. To locate an unrelated volunteered donor, the odds range one in a million. Hence, a stem-cell registry with very large number of registered donors is imperatively necessary. Dr. V.M. Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research also spoke on the occasion.

Prof. MC Mishra, Director AIIMS proposed a vote of thanks. He said that AIIMS shall take care of the medical side of registry and transplantation while it is for the NGOs like Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti to make stem-cell donation registry a people’s movement.