A 5-year-old boy is undergoing an operation. He is in need of blood but the blood bank is empty and there is no one willing to donate blood. The hapless child passes away on the operating table of the State hospital, Naharlagun.
Ramesh Jeke remembers this tragic incident, which took place in 2007, all too clearly, even to this day. Now synonymous with the blood donation movement in Arunachal Pradesh, this sad incident left a deep imprint on young Jeke’s mind that shaped his resolve to work in the field of blood donation. In his late 20s now, he is largely credited for raising awareness and shaping public opinion towards voluntary blood donation.
The Bloody Crisis
Imagine getting into an accident or going into surgery in a State where the blood banks were running dry. Unfortunately that was exactly the case for citizens in Arunachal Pradesh, a couple of years back. The same State that was recognized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, on World Blood Donor Day 2016, for achieving 100 percent voluntarily blood donation for three consecutive years (i.e. 5000 units of blood every year), had actually recorded zero percent contribution, back in 2012.
Now, it may be true that the whole country suffers from blood shortage but the scenario is especially bad in Arunachal Pradesh, a fact that comes to light after hearing testimonials of patients and their kin. The first blood bank was set up in 1997 at the