Monday, October 30, 2006

Indian Confidence

George Bush was sitting in his office wondering whom to invade next when his telephone rang.

"Hello, Mr. Bush!" a heavily accented voice said, "This is Gurmukh from Phagwara, District Kapurthala, Punjab. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring the war on you!"

"Well, Gurmukh," Bush replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army"

"Right now," said Gurmukh, after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, my cousin Sukhdev, my next door neighbor Bhagat, and the entire kabaddi team from the gurudwara. That makes eight"

Bush paused. "I must tell you, Gurmukh that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Arrey O! Main kya.." said Gurmukh. "I'll have to ring you back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Gurmukh called again.

"Mr. Bush, it is Gurmukh, I'm calling from Phagwara STD, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Gurmukh" Bush asked.

"Well, we have two combines, a donkey and Amrik's tractor."

Bush sighed. "I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to 1-1/2 million since we last spoke."

"Oh teri...." said Gurmukh. "I'll have to get back to you."

Sure enough, Gurmukh rang again the next day.

"Mr. Bush, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne...... We've modified Amrik's tractor by adding a couple of shotguns, sticking on some wings and the pind's generator. Four school pass boys from Malpur have joined us as well!"

Bush was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"
"Tera pala hove...." said Gurmuk, "I'll have to ring you back."
Sure enough, Gurmukh called again the next day.
"Kiddan, Mr.Bush! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."
"I'm sorry to hear that," said Bush. "Why the sudden change of heart"
"Well," said Gurmukh, "we've all had a long chat over a couple of lassi's, and decided there's no way we can feed two million prisoners of wars!"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blood donation in India

Congratulations to all IIMB students who gave their blood today!

I gave my blood twice in India: the first time at IIMB in Bangalore and the second time in a Bloodmobile in Delhi. No need to be a superhero to save lives!

You can help too!

In developed countries, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who give blood for a community supply. Established supplies are limited in India where a large proportion of blood donations comes from family members, friends or paid donors. Blood services are fragmented and there is a need to improve blood collection, screening, management, storage and use.

The demand-supply gap led to the commercialisation of blood donation with the emergence of commercial blood banks and professional blood donors*. Efforts are being made to keep the donation process safe but wrongdoings still take place: improper screening and multiple use of disposable needles to keep costs down, sale of contaminated blood on the black market, inflated blood price, unhealthy blood donation frequency, etc.

India needs you to create a safe blood supply!

Don't wait for an accident to take place. Red blood cells have a shelf life of 35–42 days at refrigerated temperatures (5-6 days for platelets and one year for plasma). Give today!

You are a potential donor if you are in good health* and meet the following criteria:
-Age: 18-60 years
-Body weight: >45kg
-Temperature: <37.5C
-Pulse: 50-100/minute with no irregularities
-Blood Pressure: Systolic 100-180 mm Hg & Diastolic 50-100 mm Hg
-Haemoglobin: >12.5 g/dL

Donor benefits

-Blood donation is a noble and selfless service. It feels great saving lives!
-Donating blood may reduce the risk of heart disease because it thins out the blood.
-In patients prone to iron overload, blood donation prevents the accumulation of toxic quantities.

Process

-Preparation: Find a recognised blood centre (some colleges/companies organize blood donation campaigns), don’t consume alcohol 48 hours before the donation, eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating blood.

-Donor eligibility check: Potential donors are asked about their medical history and given a short physical examination to ensure the safety of blood donation for both the donor and the recipient. Later on, the blood will be tested for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV** and viral hepatitis.

-Blood donation: Only sterile disposables should be used to collect blood which completely eliminates the risk of catching diseases from a blood donation. There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted but there should be no pain during the donation. Collecting 350-450 ml of blood takes about 10 minutes followed by a short rest and refreshments. Routine work is completely fine after the rest.

-Recovery: The body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells need about four to eight weeks for complete replacement.



*The ban on professional blood donations in 1998 has not stopped paid donors who act as relatives of patients or move to more laxly regulated blood banks.

**Blood donations are tested for HIV/STD's but the test may not always detect the early stages of viral infection. While the chance of infected blood getting past the screening tests is very small, donors should act responsively and not give blood should they be at risk of being HIV positive (Never give blood to get a free HIV test!).