Nitin Maniar, 60, is a social worker who maintains an extremely low-key profile. A chemist by profession, he has been active in the field of blood donation for the past several years. S Balakrishnan spoke to him recently about his work and the issues facing those encouraging blood donation. Excerpts below.
When did you start Samarpan Blood Centre?
It was started in 1998 by the North East Zone Chemists Educational & Welfare Trust, which was established in 1997 by chemists doing business in the northeast part of Mumbai. The aim was to reciprocate support we received from the society. We organised several health check-up / awareness camps, participated in government healthcare programmes, disaster relief activities, etc. We then decided to set up a day and night and state-of-the-art blood bank and that is how Samarpan Blood Centre took shape in 1998. It is a strictly non-profit organisation, which collects and supplies blood and blood products to everyone. We ensure that no one suffers for want of blood. Our charges are extremely affordable. The trust has now expanded its activities into areas like pathology, thalassaemia, skill development. We run a dialysis centre with 14 machines in a 5,500+ square foot premises.
Can you please give details of your activities?
The Rotary Club of Mumbai Ghatkopar donated our first mobile blood donation facility in 2009 in a Tata vehicle with five beds at a cost of Rs25 lakh through which we collected 30,000 blood bags from 1,000 donation camps. We made more than 75,000 components out of this collection. Rotary donated yet another vehicle in 2018 with eight chairs at a cost of Rs35 lakh. Through this vehicle, we have collected 24,124 blood bags from 483 camps in 40 months and travelled 30,429 kilometres. Rotary also gave us an ambulance and helped set up a dialysis centre where the charge is only Rs 300.
Can you tell us about thalassaemia care?
Our Thalassaemia Day Care Centre was started in 2008, by adopting 160 children suffering from the problem in the first phase. We do free blood transfusion for children, not only in Mumbai, but also in Thane and other districts free of cost.
Is Mumbai self-sufficient with regard to blood requirement?
It is largely, yes. But there is scope of improvement by realigning camps’ schedule. For example, too many donation camps are held on national holidays like August 15, January 26, etc. Instead of that the camps should be spread out throughout the year, especially during the dry months of April to July.