Rotary clubs in India have opened skin banks in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. The fourth in the list is the Rotary OCHRI Skin Bank at Nagpur, recently established by RC Nagpur, D 3030. This facility is a result of a tripartite agreement between the Club, Orange City Hospital & Research Institute (OCHRI) and National Burns Centre, Mumbai. It is located in the OCHRI premises and was inaugurated on February 27 by the Energy Minister of Maharashtra, Chandrashekhar Bawankule.
The Minister said, “Rotary- OCHRI is the first skin bank in Central India and the facility will not only relieve the pain of burn victims but will also reduce death ratio by 50 per cent. It is also commendable that it will be available at one tenth of the cost of artificial products.”
The equipment necessary for retrieving and storing skin was purchased at a cost of Rs 11.16 lakh, contributions for which came from Rtn Ajay Sancheti (Rs 6.11 lakh), Luxora Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. (Rs 1 lakh) and the balance from the Rotarians of RC Nagpur.
Club President Bharatraj Goenka said, “Though OCHRI has no burns centre, patients with burn injuries are regularly treated here and in other major hospitals in Nagpur, and they will benefit a lot by this skin bank.” The skin bank’s helpline number for informing the death of registered donor or for enquiry of skin is +91-9422106298 / 0712-6634800.
In skin banking, skin from eligible deceased donor is collected, processed and stored to treat burns patients. The skin that is totally burnt cannot heal without a skin graft operation and the stored donor’s skin which is preserved in glycerol and frozen comes as a life saver. It acts just like a biological dressing for the burn injury, preventing the loss of vital fluids, protein and heat, maintains electrolyte balance and protects the injury from bacteria, drastically reducing the risk if gangrene and other infections.
Goenka added that initially people were surprised to know that even skin can be donated. They were a little apprehensive regarding disfigurement following skin donation. “But once they understood the concept, they were enthusiastic and many conveyed their willingness to donate. Many Rotarians have pledged their skin and enquiries from the public have started pouring in.”
The Club plans to extend the facility by opening collection centres in Vidarbha from where local doctors can harvest skin from donors and send it to the Rotary OCHRI Skin Bank at Nagpur for processing and use. They have also plans to start research in stem cell therapy using the same infrastructure and facility.