Advanced Mobile Blood-Collection Van Set To Operate in India's Eighth-Largest City
By Sanjay Deshpande
An advanced mobile blood-collection van that has the capability to separate each 450 milliliters of voluntarily donated blood into four useful components – platelets, stem cells, red blood cells, and cryoprecipitate- that can each save a life, was handed over on June 29, 2015 to the blood bank at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH) in Puné, India’s eighth-largest city with a population of 8 million.
  • Today, other than for patients undergoing bypass surgery or those treated for multiple trauma, rational use of blood dictates that only one of the four blood components needed is given to patients to avoid transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO).
Genesis of mobile blood-collection van
The Rotary Club of Puné Pride (RCPP) assessed the community needs and worked with DMH to fully develop the concept of using an advanced blood-collection van that could help increase blood collection from donors to meet the predicted increase in demand for blood and blood components for life-saving treatments.
The blood bank at DMH expects the annual demand of 3,500 liters of blood for 14,000 patients in 2013 to 10,000 liters for 25,000 patients by 2019-20 due to a 12-percent annual growth in the city’s population.
Until now, the blood has been collected in the hospital from 8,000 voluntary donors a year, all of whom have to get to the hospital. It was determined that more donors were unlikely to go to the hospital, which meant that collection had to be done in different parts of the city where donors would find it convenient to donate blood so that an additional 16,000 to 17,000 donors are able to donate blood and the blood bank can satisfy the greater future demand for blood and blood components.
The procurement of the van and outfitting it with blood-donation chairs and equipment (for properly collecting blood, separating into its components, and sealing and preserving in standard-size packets) was budgeted at $40,300.
DMH and its Blood Bank made a commitment to staff and operate the van for seven years at an estimated total cost of $140,000 once the van was handed over.
The Global Grant Project
Rotary International, through its charitable The Rotary Foundation, transforms the donations it receives into projects that change lives both close to home and around the world by tapping into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money, and expertise into our priorities, such as eradicating polio and promoting peace. Foundation grants empower Rotarians to approach challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition with sustainable solutions that leave a lasting impact.
Consistent with this global collaborative approach to global needs, members of RCPP reached out to Rotarians in both Italy and the United States who had participated in a prior project with RCPP that established a human-milk bank at another hospital in Puné with an appeal for partnership that would include funding from RCPP’s District (an organizational unit that can have 20 to 100 clubs in a defined geographic area), the Italian Club and its District, and the U.S. Club and its District. The first approach to the foreign clubs was made in July 2014.
RCPP offered to fund $4,000 and its District (3131, with 50+ clubs in the State of Maharashtra) supported that club with $7,000, which would be entitled to a $9,000 match from the Rotary Foundation if they found partner club/district overseas to fund the project. That brought the India part of funding to $20,000.
The Wachusett Area Rotary Club (WARC) took the lead on the international partnership and applied to our district (7910, comprising 51 clubs in Central Massachusetts) for support. WARC agreed to underwrite $5,800 in club contribution, which District 7910 matched 100 percent. All that was needed was a grant from the Rotary Foundation of $8,700, bringing the international part of funding to $20,300.
In summary, the project funding was as follows:
Amount $
Foundation Match
Total $
Host Club Puné Pride
Host District 3131
Overseas clubs in D7910 (1)
Overseas District D7910
(1) Wachusett Area ($3,300) along with Fitchburg, Framingham, Shrewsbury, Sturbridge and Uxbridge ($500 each).
The project was approved by the Rotary Foundation in early December 2014.
The Pune’ Pride team then implemented the project in close cooperation with the blood bank at the receiving institution – Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital.
The blood-collection van was handed over to the hospital this June 29, within seven months of the approval by the Rotary Foundation.
DMH will hire the staff (doctor, nurse, technician and drivers) and bear all operation and maintenance costs for seven years at an estimated $20,000 annually, for a total DMH commitment of $140,000.
It is seen that over seven years, the Global Grant funds will be leveraged 4.5 times ($180,300 divided by $40,300). DMH will either continue the operation and maintenance of the van beyond the seven-year period or replace it with a new van, thus assuring sustainability of the benefits.
Sanjay Deshpande, chair of District 7910's Endowments and Major Gifts Committee and chair of the Rotary Club of Wachusett Area's Foundation Committee, may be reached at