The blood centre designed to expand in a modular manner accommodate 150,000 units of blood per annum. Our objective of making Prathama (which is Sanskrit means 'First and the Foremost') was to create a modern blood bank, which operates with high efficiency, accuracy of the modern blood banks in the developed countries, but still runs at cost which developing country's economy can absorb.
The blood centre was conceptualized to cost us Rs. 7.5 Crore. This required indigenous design and development of technology and systems. We floated our idea to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to set up a modern blood bank for the city of Ahmedabad that runs as non profit organisation. Key members of AMC immediately appreciated the objective and collaboration was established with AMC. A free plot of land was allotted to build Prathama Blood Centre.
Model blood bank can be considered as a high technology pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The entire operation is divided into 3 sub parts viz. a) Blood Collection, b) Blood Processing and c) Blood Distribution. These 3 functions have well designed space, equipment, requisite number of trained people, systems and SOPs, besides a good organizational culture for processes to run smoothly.
We were also well aware that modern blood banking must have 'only blood components and not whole blood'. We spread scientific information amongst the medical practitioners in the city. In a very short time leading clinicians of the city appreciated the benefits of quality blood components and quickly switched over from whole blood, thus making Prathama India 's first 100% blood component blood centre.
One may not see the presence of good management but its absence is always seen. Prathama's management was designed with the recruitment of best talents in the field of Management, Accountancy, Finance, HR, IT, Pharmacy, Laboratory Technology, General Engineering, Stores Management apart from a very strong Medical Team. The Medical team currently has 4 medical Doctors with 1 MD & 3 MBBS. We have tried to install some of the best professional management practices in operation.
Economy of developing countries is dramatically different from those of developed nations. Their per capita income could be just 10 - 20% of developed countries on purchase power parity (PPP) basis. Most people in developing nations work in unorganized sector, without any health insurance or social security. At the same time, the cost of living in such countries is also considerably low. We realized that against the international price of blood components which is anywhere from USD 100 - 350 per blood component, Indians were getting low quality substitute at about Rs. 450-1000 (USD 11-25), which is almost 1/10 th or lower. This reality of economy guided us to do tight planning of the blood centre, massive indigenization of even highly advanced systems and equipment and development of our own automation system including barcodes, ERP software and other programs. With our fundamental work on blood bank infrastructure creation, we managed to complete the blood centre for less than Rs. 750 lacs. The blood centre now produces blood components, which are at par with those available in the developed countries, but only at a small fraction of cost i.e. USD 5-15 per unit or Rs.250-600/-. At these low service charges, we are still able to give about 10% free-ship to poor patients and blood donors, spend another 15% on awareness campaign.
'Patients need blood for cure and survival' is the sole reason for our existence as a blood bank. We were clear that to provide patients with safe, high quality blood without replacement in shortest possible time, we have to sensitize and mobilize the society to donate blood. This was the foundation philosophy of our societal marketing efforts. We developed Societal Marketing team, in-house studio, educational materials, motivational material, inspirational blood drive systems to request the society to help their brethren. Now with almost 8 years of operation our efforts have brought to Prathama 2,47,000 blood donations, 1,79,000 blood donors and an opportunity to save 1,24,500 lives. Prathama established as the one of the biggest contributor to voluntary blood donations and life saving efforts in Ahmedabad city.