Spread awareness about not to stigmatise COVID-19 patients, docs: Vardhan to Indian Red Cross

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New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday urged the Indian Red Cross Society to come forward to spread awareness among people so that COVID-19 patients and health professional treating them are not stigmatised.

Attending the centenary celebrations of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) on the occasion of the 'World Red Cross Day', Vardhan lauded the institution for sending mobile blood collection vans at the doorstep of regular donors at this point of time, a health ministry statement said.

'The IRCS is doing yeoman service to the mankind by providing the facility of mobile blood collection, pick and drop facility through mobile van etc and setting a benchmark for other voluntary organisations by providing blood to terminally ill patients, thalassaemics as well as patients suffering from other blood disorders during these difficult times,' he said.

He also appealed to voluntary organisations, NGOs and people at large to come forward to promote voluntary blood donation to maintain ample blood stocks to meet any eventuality.

He asked people to donate blood at least once in a year on their birthday or marriage anniversary to make the occasion special for not only themselves but for the people who need blood, according to the statement.

At the event, Vardhan also flagged off a vehicle carrying relief material to Haryana. 'I really value Indian Red Cross fraternity having given a great contribution in our fight against COVID-19 where they have provided equipment, sanitizers, food, PPE kits and N95 masks etc to several hospitals in India,' he was quoted as saying in the health ministry statement.

Outlining the silver lining in the COVID-19 crisis, he said, 'This situation has also given us good things. It's an advent of a new era and world order. We are promoting personal hygiene like never before, attending meetings through videoconferencing as well as using other digital technology to save on costs while taking full care of our families. 'It has highlighted the value of a clean and clear environment, earth, water and air; nature has taken over the planet world over, like never before,' he underlined.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,886 and the number of cases climbed to 56,342 on Friday registering an increase of 103 deaths and 3,390 cases in the last 24 hours since Thursday morning, according to the Union health ministry. However, a PTI tally of numbers reported by different states and union territories till 9.00 PM showed that 59,100 people have tested positive and 1,904 died across the country. PTI PLB DPB