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Gift, Love, Life – Keep India Beating


“They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

American poet, Maya Angelou’s words epitomise the will to serve. We celebrate the efforts to save a life and the mutual feeling of giving and receiving in this Torchbearer Thursday episode with Dr. Maria Nigam.

Dr, Maria Nigam and her Prana Pan-India team make an appeal to come forward and serve in the cause of humanity by donating blood.

Dr. Maria Nigam, Principal founder, Prana, is a medical professional who is help building a bridge between the donor and recipient of blood and blood products. Prana 2.0 works on the idea of making blood, platelets and plasma universally available so that the recipient or their family don’t have to suffer due to unavailability or waste precious hours in search of blood.

New Beginnings

Prana was born in July 2020, as a ray of hope amidst the chaos, that the novel corona-virus has put us through. Originally a plasma donation platform Prana 2.0, as Maria likes to call it, is a platform to facilitate Blood and Platelets Donation.

Prana 2.0 have partnered with Tata Memorial Hospital to increase blood donation. The initiative called “Gift, love, Life Project – To keep India beating!” to encourage blood and plasma donation for cancer patients or anyone in need,

The Prana Team

Dr. Om Srivastava who is leading this initiative is an eminent Infectious Disease Consultant in Mumbai and is on the Covid-19 Task Force with the Govt. of Maharashtra. Dr. Maria Nigam and Suman Shrivastava are the front-liners with the Mumbai Chapter while Dr. Sunita Lobo and Chaitra Chidanand (Tech and Back-End Lead) are the front-liners with the Bangalore Chapter. Melody Laila and Sohini Guha complete the team with their creative genius!
Prana is actively looking for PRANA Warriors to join as volunteers. Volunteer Roles include calling and motivating donors, filling in donor questionnaires, validating donor information, coordinating with donation centers as well as contribution to widen awareness via social media/a Helpline.

The Journey so far

Dr. Maria is acting as a voluntary contributor to Public Health for the past 17 years. A midnight call for plasma where it took 3-4 hours for her team to find a donor, catapulted her into the cause – to make the availability of plasma universal and easy for patients.

Plasma, a very important component of the blood, has been proved to be effective in Infections beyond 100 years. When one gets infected, body produces antibodies. Antibodies are found in part of the blood called plasma. Plasma from people who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus contains COVID-19 antibodies, and can be used to prevent further infections.

When ICMR’s new guidelines came into effect, the team moved to support the cause of blood and platelets donations. Dr. Maria expresses gratitude to all donors who came forward to donate blood and platelets.

“Gift, Love and Life – Keep India Beating”

June 14, is celebrated as World Blood donor day, and the theme of this year is, “Give blood, keep the world happy.” Maria and her team see June as a month to initiate the “keep India beating” campaign.

Blood donation through Prana is easy. Any one who wishes to donate have to go the official website and fill up a form. A primary screening is then done. Whenever, there is a need, the prospective donor will get a notification to come to the hospital and donate. Maria thanks Arc India for organising a Tri- city Blood donation camp for the cities Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore. A total of 176 donors came forward for this epic moment during the ongoing crisis.

Source: Prana Website

The Need

India, as a country has a monthly requirement of 11-12 million units of blood every month, with shortfall of 1-2 million units of blood. There has been a decrease in blood donation either due to fear of going to the hospital and getting covid or hospitals converted to covid wards.

Apart from the regular requirements, there are emergency requirements of blood products due to the to accidents and trauma. There is also a regular demand of plasma for cancer, thalassemia and other blood disgracia.

The criteria for normal blood donators includes, the donor being 18-63 years of age, be in good health and be symptom free. For Covid infected donors, the donation can be done 28 days after full recovery. Also, the donor should not be on any medications.

Way Forward

Maria reveals the next step of Prana journey with the unveiling of Prana Mental Health. Thousands of people have been mentally and emotionally affected by covid. The reason could be varied, from loss of loved one’s to loss of occupation to isolation due to lockdown and restrictions to name a few. Prana looks forward to address this issue by Prana mental health support. They are working on making a robust network of counselors, psychologists and support groups over the next 6 months. They have already conducted 10 webinars (10 pillars of positivity) for topics ranging from stress, anxiety, hope and careers to name a few.

Prana is also conducting a mask survey to analyse the mask wearing behaviour for the College Students of Mumbai.

Call for Action

Maria thanks each and every “Prana warrior” and urges individuals to come forward to support the cause of blood donation. Maria wants to mobilize youth, to kindle the spirit of selflessness at a young age and be ambassadors of Prana by raising awareness in their family, friends and communities. And therefore colleges and NSS unit are targeted by Prana as youth volunteers.

One blood donation can save 3 lives. Blood contains plasma, platelets and RBCs and these could be separated and can be given to 3 different recipients.

“Prana needs you on different fronts. We need you, we can’t do it without you- keep India beating with your help.”

Dr. Maria Nigam

Watch Dr. Maria Nigam in conversation with Deepa Soman

Dr. Maria Nigam was our Lumiere Torchbearer on 3rd September 2020.

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