Bhaskar, Founder of Easyblood
Many men dream in the night! A good number dream in the bright sunlight.. A few dream for the society! Today we have Mr. Bhaskar from easyblood, with an initiative to build a network of voluntary blood donors. As per WHO reports, India faces an acute shortage of blood donors (62 lac units) which results in several deaths each year. Amongst others, this service is likely to be helpful for people who travel to other places for treatment and where they have no acquaintances to act as replacement blood donors. Due to acute shortage of blood, most of the Indian blood banks ask for replacement donors before they supply blood
Me: Sundar Rajan G S
BH: Bhaskar, Founder – Easyblood
Me: Hello Bhaskar, Welcome to the show on Coffee With Sundar. What is easyblood organization all about? What is it trying to achieve?
BH: www.easyblood.info was started to provide a common platform for blood donors and receivers to connect directly with each other. The website provides a platform to locate voluntary blood donors for any given blood group in more than 2500 cities of India.It aims to ease the process of searching for a blood donor in times of an emergency by providing a direct link to matching and interested donors across the country.
Me: What was your motivation for starting the same? Who is the other co-founder.. what are your backgrounds?
BH: The founding members are:
a) Bhaskar Chaudhary
b) Souvik Saha
Souvik Saha was last working as the Jharkhand head for Cholamandalam. MS General Insurance Co. ltd before he resigned in may 2009 to start an NGO called People for Change(www.peopleforchange.in) along with me. Souvik is a post graduate in accounts.
I am Bhaskar Chaudhary, an ex banker and was heading Jharkhand and Bihar SME division for HDFC , before I too quit his job in June 2009 to start People for Change with Souvik. I am an MBA in finance. While on our travels across the country with regards our work at People for Change we came across some startling facts about blood donation in India. We did a bit of research ourselves and arrived at the following facts;
a) Round 7 accident victims die every hour for need of blood.
b) India leads the world in blood trafficking trade
c) 40% of illegal trafficked blood is sourced from children
d) 30% of blood transfused in India is adulterated
e) Every 2 seconds , someone in India needs blood.
f) 77,000 Indian women die during child birth, for need of blood.
g) Need for blood will increase 5% each year.
h) While 8% of population in U.S.A donate at least once a year, it is
a meager 3% for India.
All this could be solved if Indians began to donate voluntarily.
India has round 14 crore internet users. Out of this, 12 crore users are above 18 years of age, which is the age eligibility to donate blood. If this user base is motivated to donate even once a year, it can address the blood shortfall of India. www.easyblood.info aims to target this user group to bridge the blood deficit.
Hence with this idea we started easyBLOOD.
The inspiration to start easyBLOOD was that we felt that though many of us are willing to donate we are unableto or not comfortable with the idea of going to some blood camp or a blood bank to donate regularly.
Me: How is easyblood different from other organizations which educate about blood donation..
BH: At easyBLOOD you just have to register to donate and only donate when contacted by a person in need of blood. Also the very fact that a donor can actually see whom he is donating to, adds a personal touch to the process and acts as an added incentive for a person to donate.
We are trying to address the shortfall of blood in India by motivating the internet user base to pledge to donate and ease the process of searching for a blood donor in times of an emergency by providing a direct link to matching and interested donors across the country.
Me: How many members have registered so far? who can request for help on the website?
BH: Facts about easyBLOOD;
a) Launched on 17th December, 2011
b) So far round 400 people have joined as members.
c) There have been 2 cases where receivers have used this site to find donors and receive blood.
d) 4 chapters started so far in Kharagpur, Hazaribagh, Mugma and Patratu.
Anyone residing in India can request for help from the website. All they would need to do is register on the site(free registration)
Me: Apart from the social benefit, what are the health benefit of donating blood?
BH: Reduce the chance of heart diseases
It has been observed that increase in blood iron level increases the chance of heart disease. Iron is involved in the oxidation of cholesterol and this process is believed to be detrimental for the arteries. Increases blood iron level favors this process of cholesterol oxidation and thus leads to heart disease. Regular blood donation helps especially males in loosing iron on regular basis. It helps in reducing the chance of heart attack to one third.
Lower Iron Levels
Lower the iron levels in your body every time you give blood, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to CNN, high blood iron levels have the potential to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because iron accelerates the oxidation process of cholesterol in the body, which damages arteries. Iron levels aren’t the only factor that plays a role in a person’s risk of heart disease, but there are certainly no downsides to lowering blood iron levels by donating blood regularly.
Reduces the risk of Cancer
Give blood to help lower your risk of cancer. According to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center, consistent blood donation is associated with lowered risks for cancers including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers. Risk levels dropped in correlation with how often participants donated blood.
Enhances the production of new Red Blood Cells
As the blood is withdrawn from the donors body there is decrease inblood cells. To replenish it, immediately new cells are produced by marrow andthis way blood gets refreshed. Therefore donating blood helps in stimulating generationof new blood cells.
Helps in fighting Hemochromitosis
Hemochromitosis is a genetic disorder; also know as iron overload disorder wherein iron accumulates in the body tissue because or improper iron metabolism. This condition may lead to organ damage.Though this problem is uncommon in Indians, people with little iron overload also can easily donation blood and reduce their iron content. Taking example from other countries, one in every 300-400 people in England suffers from this disorder and American Red Cross blood services accept such donors as safe donor as it’s a genetic disorder, it won’t be harmful to the person receiving blood from such donors.
One can diet or remain fit by donating blood regularly. One pint of blood (450 ml) when donated burns 650 calories in donor’s body.
Basic blood test is done
Apart from all these benefits a donor gets a mini blood test done before donating blood. This includes Hematocrit i.e. HB level test, Blood pressure is measured, body weight is checked. After the blood is collected it tested for 5 major diseases. Those are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis and malaria. Donor is immediately informed if any of these test found to be positive
Me: What are the challenges you are currently facing in spreading the message about blood donation?
BH: The biggest challenge that we are currently facing is making people aware of the importance of donating and how they can use www.easyblood.info to either donate blood or search for a matching donor across 2500 cities in India.
Publicising the site for deeper penetration has been a major problem
Me: What is your message for Indian youth. Anything else you would like to add?
BH: The young in India need to understand that blood cannot be manufactured and is available only by donation.Also voluntary blood donation can be a major tool to stop the illegal blood trafficking trade in India.
The youth in India can contribute in any of the following ways;
a) By registering themselves
b) By inviting their friends to register
c) Opening a local chapter of easyBLOOD (people interested in starting a local chapter can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts.