INDIACSR News Network
NEW DELHI: The Ceremonial Session of the Annual General Meeting of the Indian Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance (India) was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan Auditorium, New Delhi yesterday. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee attended the ceremonial session.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the Red Cross, in its history of 150 years, has upheld the fundamental values of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. The Indian Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance have been at the forefront of humanitarian service in the country since 1920 and have increased the reach of their programmes.
They have marked their presence increasingly through schools of nursing, homes for the elderly, tuberculosis programmes, disaster response and preparedness, and education on positive attitude for children and youth. He called upon young men and women to come forward and take part in voluntary blood donation. He said that greater sensitization of our youth towards this important social service is absolutely necessary. Our efforts must be to ensure that not a single person in need of blood is left unanswered.
Speaking on the occasion,Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chairman, Indian Red Cross Society & St. John Ambulance (India) and Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare said the Indian Red Cross Society is contributing 10 per cent of the total blood collections in the country through its 166 blood banks across the country, a figure that is all the more impressive considering that the vast majority – 86 per cent – of these donations are made on a voluntary basis.
Besides blood services, the Indian Red Cross Society is also supplementing the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through a number of other health programmes, such as tuberculosis control in 7 States and the measles catch up programme through social mobilization including door to door outreach at community level in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian Red Cross Society, through its more than 700 branches across the states and union territories, has millions of volunteers and members working through an integrated approach. They are engaged in multiple activities, ranging from disaster management, blood services, services for disabled, vocational training at the central training institute, vocational training centres and maternity and child welfare scheme in the hilly and rural areas.
The junior and youth wing of the Indian Red Cross Society is the backbone of the organization, holding Youth Camps all over the country where young people are trained on subjects such as climate change, first aid, HIV/AIDS education, humanitarian values, and health promotion through ayurveda and yoga.
Shri Azad said across the globe, including India, communities remain vulnerable to disasters, which are unpredictable and affect all aspects of life.Recognizing this, Indian Red Cross Society has been training its volunteers in disaster response, such as the National and State Disaster Response Teams, as well as further specialized teams such as the National Disaster Water and Sanitation Response Teams since 2005. Now, the society is taking the next step, by initiating a programme which certifies First Medical Responders, prepared to respond to a variety of needs during disaster situations and not just medical needs. Initially piloted in Uttarakhand, the programme is now rolling out across 14 state branches, and I hope that soon we will see this community focused initiative in all 35 state and union territory branches.
Talking about St. John Ambulance(India), he said the first Ambulance Corps and the Nursing Corps were formed in England in 1880 and in 1887 the St. John Ambulance Brigade was established as another department of the Order.In March, 1904, the Order of St. John organized the Silver Challenge Shield Railway competitions in Jabalpur and since then, St. John Ambulance has been active in the country.
It now trains about 6 to 7 lakh people in First-Aid every year and the Brigade Wing runs ambulance services in many places throughout the country, saving precious lives.The activities of St. John Ambulance (India) are progressing very well, with its 2,478 brigade divisions consisting of thousands of trained volunteers, he added.
The President presented four medals and twelve shield awards to volunteers and branches of Indian Red Cross Society and six medals and four shield awards to volunteers and centres of St. John Ambulance (India) in recognition of their committed services.