KARACHI: Voluntarily blood donations at makeshift camps by non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) in Karachi, during Muharram procession to cater emergency needs of participants also fulfills needs of children affected with Thalassaemia. The blood collection stands enough for 10 days needs of Karachi’s estimated 4,000 thalassemiac children, said Muhammad Iqbal, Information Secretary of Thalassaemia Federation of Pakistan. According to Iqbal, since fresh collected blood is required for thalessmiac children stands valid for 15 days while the stored one can be used for other blood needy patients and transferred to other medical facilities. “During Muharram last year, we collected around 3,000 blood bags, enough for estimated 4,000 thalassemiac children for ten days,” said Iqbal who is also CEO of Kashif Iqbal Thalassaemia Care Centre. “Another advantage of blood donations in Muharram is that we get all blood groups, while it difficult to get all groups in normal days” he added. Stringent security measures guarded the medical and blood camps set up by different welfare bodies alongside the procession route. Husaini Blood Bank, a charitable institution provides blood to community with support of volunteering blood donors, as it establishes main blood camp at Numaish en route procession. “Apart of Numaiish camp, we also set up various camps with other NGOs and scouts organisations namely Imamia Students Organisation, Hussaini Scouts, Al Hussaini Scouts and others,” said Asad Ali, Chief Executive Officer Husaini Blood Bank. According to him, around 2,500 blood bags are kept to meet any eventuality. “God forbid, in any mishap, blood is prime commodity to save lives. However leftover blood bags are given to needy organizations working for Thalassaemia and Haemophilia affected children,” he added. Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder, transmitted to offspring from their parents. Due to a high carrier rate in Pakistan, more than 6,000-7,000 children with Thalassaemia major are born every year. According to estimates, more than 120,000 Thalassaemia major children may be found in Pakistan getting half hearted treatment with infrequent blood transfusions and inadequate iron chelation therapy. Similarly Kashif Iqbal Thalassaemia Care Centre has planned to establish three blood camps at Numaish, Regal Chowk and Gushan-e-Hadeed. Last year we collected around 1,200 blood pints, sufficient for half-month quota of registered 600 children,” said Iqbal. “On an average every child requires around two pints in a month,” he added. Omair Sana Foundation (OSF), operating in city to collect blood for needy thalassaemia children also donates blood. Generally collection of blood in open is not as safe as it is collected in safer and covered places so we do not collect in open, said Obaid Hashmi, CEO OSF. “As per World Health Organization guidelines, it is unsafe to collect blood in open as it could be unhygienic,” he added.