Seven years ago, Rotary Club of Rajapalayam, D 3212, set up the PACR Rotary Blood Bank in Rajapalayam near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The town is popular for its special breed of hounds — the formidable Rajapalayam dogs.
The entire equipment, costing ₹15,00,000, needed for the blood bank, was donated by the charter president of the club, P R Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha. The facility was christened PACR Rotary Blood Bank in memory of his father P A C Ramasamy Raja.
Following the growing demand for blood from hospitals and nursing homes, the club recently added a fully-equipped ambulance to the blood bank through a global grant for $35,000 with support from 10 clubs of D 5580, US and Canada, including its sister club — RC Fargo Moorhead AM, North Dakota and TRF.
When the ambulance is not being used for blood collection and distribution, it is utilised in BP and diabetes detection camps across the district. Explaining the details of this project, Dr N Gopalakrishnan, District Grants Sub Committee Chairman, said, “Last year we had organised a couple of such screening camps in the rural areas and it was shocking to find that the villagers were not even aware that they were diabetic or that their blood pressure was very high.” Some of them had a blood sugar level of 500–600, while the BP readings in quite a few was as high as 200/120. “The then DG, Dr K Vijayakumar, suggested the idea of expanding the use of the vehicle to address the health issues of the poor,” he added.
The club included the survey results, while applying for the global grant, and sought more number of mercury and digital BP apparatus, glucometers and the test strips in their budgeted list of items, with an assurance to hold 50 BP and diabetes camps for the villagers. “The GG was sanctioned in a short time with no questions asked,” says Gopalakrishnan.
The club kept up its promise and completed 50 BP and diabetes detection camps in five months, screening over 7,500 persons in various villages. The region is an industrial belt with a majority of the residents employed in the factories.
Enthused with the success of this project, the club is all set to expand its service to address the silent killers — blood pressure and diabetes — through regular camps and provide timely treatment for the villagers. “The vehicle can be used by other clubs of the district to hold medical camps throughout the year,” he added.