International Day for the Older Persons(1st October) and the (Indian) National Voluntary Blood Donation Day (1-10-2009)

Observation of the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day (1-10-2009) ,which coincides
with the International Day for the Older Persons,was carried out with zeal and dedication in the
different states of India.

First October is celebrated every year as the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day in
the entire country. All those committed to the crusade for promotion of voluntary blood
donation movement, consider this day as an opportunity to address the issue with the
general public so that awareness and motivation are ensured and many more people
join this movement of national pride with a sense of dedication and humanitarian
service by their humble donation of blood.

The state of Gujarat is at the top in the country with blood donation with more than 1.2%
population donating blood vis-à-vis the population of the state, as against the national
average of less than 0.7%. There are more than 85 centurion blood donors
(those who have donated for 100 or more times in their lifetime) in Gujarat,
including one lady, one physically challenged person, one Rh negative blood group
holder and many families whose contribution exceed more than 300 units.

Our journey, however, has to continue till we achieve the goal of 100% voluntarism in
blood donation to meet safe and adequate supply of blood, any time, at any place for
every patient in Gujarat.

The shared vision of all of us is that no woman in any village/hospital should suffer
for want of blood and no surgical operations be deferred in
absence of suitable blood at any health centre in Gujarat.

The blood requirement has been on an increase on account of expansion of specialty hospitals
in the cities and towns, but the real requirement of blood to save a life has now emerged clearly in the
smaller places at talukas or even small villages.

Our endeavour is to provide safe and adequate blood to meet all the requirements. For
fulfilling these requirements we have to pledge that every healthy person donates blood
voluntarily. The repeat blood donors must contribute their best for their concern about
the needy patients requiring blood to save or extend their lives.

With this premise the Gujarat State Council for Blood Transfusion, in collaboration with
the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Ahmedabad, celebrated the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day
on 1st October 2009 at L.D. College of Engineering, Navrangpura with a Rakta-Rath-
Yatra with thirteen mobile blood vans/ "Blood-banks-on-wheels".

The Rakta Rath Yatra was flagged off , that day by the dignitaries including the differently abled centurion blood donor,only lady centurion blood donor of Gujarat ,Health Secretary,Health Commissioner, and the Mission
Director of the National Rural Health Mission of the state.

The Rakta Rath Yatra went round from Gujarat University –Vijay Cross Road-
Income Tax circle-Ashram Road l- Paldi- Law College- back to Gujarat University.
The Rakta-Rath-Yatra will further move throughout Gujarat to motivate the people to
donate blood and become "Sherdil"(lion hearted brave altruistic people), repeat voluntary blood donors.

The blood donor organisers of Gujarat were felicitated by the senior most government health functionaries
of the sate and the function was followed by a workshop for donor motivators to strengthen the activities of the action plan drawn and being followed up to achieve the goals as mentioned above.

The community of the voluntary blood donors has been in the centre age at all the stages of the ongoing pursuits for promoting the availability and appropriate utilization of safest possible blood for the needy.

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Comment by Dr Rajesh Gopal on October 4, 2009 at 7:17pm
Please find a press release

GENEVA (1st October 2009)-- "Governments should put in place old age social pensions and strengthen their social protection systems to realize the rights of older persons and their families," said the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, on the International Day of Older People.

"It is high time to kill the myth of pensions being unaffordable for poor countries," said Sepúlveda, highlighting that non-contributory pensions, also known as 'social pensions,' are the simplest way to keep older persons out of poverty and to realize their right to social security.

"We only need to look at the achievements in any of the 46 middle and low-income countries that have social pensions," stressed the UN Human Rights Council Expert. "Social pensions not only improve the living conditions of older persons, but also that of their families. So they benefit society as a whole."

On average, four other persons benefit from a social pension, which in turn contributes to the economic development of poor communities. For example, children living with pensioners tend to be better nourished and attend school more often than those living with older relatives where no pension scheme exists. "Consequently," argues Ms. Sepúlveda, "social pensions should be a high priority for States committed to fighting poverty and to ensuring human rights for both old and young."

Population ageing is a global trend, with the number of older people growing fast. Today, over 470 million older people live in developing countries. Among them, 100 million live with less than one dollar per day. By 2050, there will likely be 2 billion people over 60 years old, the vast majority in developing countries.

Older persons can and do make an enormous contribution to society, as reliable care-givers, volunteers and, increasingly, as fully active members of society. Yet, ensuring their well-being and supporting their continuing participation is a challenge.

They can also be particularly vulnerable to human rights violations ranging from straightforward abuse to stereotypes that lead to denial of adequate health care and access to development programmes.

Older people are at greater risk of sudden deterioration in their standard of living; as their health declines and family support structures break down due to several factors such as HIV/AIDS and economic decline. The situation of older women is even worse, as they benefit less from contributory pensions. Older people in many poor countries are frequently unable to meet even basic food needs.

"Most States have been neglecting for years their obligations under the right to social security, for example by not ensuring that poor people who worked in the informal economy all their lives can count on a basic, non contributory, pension," concluded the Independent Expert. "Older people deserve more."

Magdalena Sepúlveda is the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty since May 2008. She is a Chilean lawyer currently working as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva.


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