Out of every 10 children in the world who are born with thalassemia major, one child is from India, making our country the thalassemia capital of the world.
A genetic blood disorder commonly characterised by the abnormal production of haemoglobin in the body, the disease so far has no known cure other than bone marrow transplant (BMT) — an expensive procedure that can only be performed on children up to the age of 10.
Spanning a spectrum of effects on the human body like iron overload, bone deformities and, in severe cases, heart diseases, thalassemia requires regular blood transfusions.
Sadly, there is no prevention and control programme at the national level and the disorder is often passed down through generations.
For people who live in the rural sides of the country, the dearth of blood transfusion facilities means that they have to travel many kilometres, and sometimes across state lines.
One such example is Poornia district in Bihar.
The patients have no option but to commute to the nearest transfusion centre, which lies in Biratnagar, Nepal – almost 400 km away. Blood transfusions are already expensive, add to it the expense and effort just to reach the facility.
One non-profit organisation in Mumbai is trying everything to change this shortcoming and give a new lease of life for patients in the region by setting up a dedicated round-the-clock blood transfusion centre in Bihar.
The Wishing Factory has been granting wishes and needs of people suffering from thalassemia and leukaemia since 2015.
Found by Partth R Thakur, who himself suffers from thalassemia, the organisation has been able to fulfil 138 wishes till date.
“Partth had been a part of National Thalassemia Welfare Society conference there last when he ended up meeting two people from the region who shed light about the dire situation of people who preferred going to Nepal where the process was fast and easy rather than the regular transfusion at government hospitals that were not even safe”, says Komal Mishra, who is the campaigner and deputy president of TWF.
Coming up with a campaign to raise funds for the centre, TWF intends to make lives of thalassemia patients and their families a lot easier and convenient.
Designed to provide blood, healthcare equipment, blood filters and post-transfusion medicines to patients residing in and around Bihar, the estimated cost of such a centre is close to ₹9,60,000.
“We had previously raised funds and managed to set up a thalassemia blood transfusion centre in Vadodara at Bhailal Amin General Hospital that is successfully functioning. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do better and reach out to a greater population through this facility,” Komal adds.
The campaign, which is in its second phase, plans on roping in blood banks as well as medical advisors in the region for the project. While the fundraising campaign aims at raising about ₹3,00,000, the recurring expenses will be looked after by TWF.
You can write to The Wishing Factory at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 09601650464.
If you wish to help The Wishing Factory build the blood transfusion centre in Bihar, you can contribute here.