Sandhani a voluntary organisation in the health sector concentrating on building up human blood and organ bank. It was established by some young physicians and social workers with its operating centre located in the premier medical college of the country, the Dhaka Medical College. Sandhani maintains a network of blood collection centres throughout the country located in major cities. It also maintains preparedness for post-mortem collection of organs that have been donated ante-mortem. Sandhani has achieved considerable success in promoting voluntary donation of organs particularly ante-mortem donation of eye, cornea, and kidney. Its message is Let others live as you live, that is, while you are still enjoying the precious gift of life. Sandhani has 13 branches, one in each public medical college, and 35 donor clubs based in district hospitals.
Sandhani operates regular blood donation clinics on different national and religious occasions to collect blood from volunteers. The blood is screened for some viral markers such as Hepatitis B Virus and typed before being sent for preservation. In Bangladesh, routine screening of blood for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is not carried out. Blood donors who come to Sandhani are given an identification that they can later produce when they themselves need blood for either self or for close relatives. This identification allows them to obtain donor-priority in receiving blood from the Sandhani outlets throughout the country.
Sandhani team is always on stand-by for organ collection donated voluntarily ante-mortem or from cases of accidental fatalities. All ethical procedures are followed in the work of the organisation involving organ donation and distribution. Given the very large population of Bangladesh (130 million in year 2000) and very high incidence of fatal road accidents, one could expect a much larger volume of organ donation than is currently achieved. But due to lack of proper logistics required for such endeavours and an understandable apathy among the ordinary people of the country towards organ donation, lives of many individuals requiring organ transplantation are probably lost that could possibly have been saved through donated organs. It is keenly felt by certain quarters that in Bangladesh there exists plenty of scope to make organ donation awareness a social movement. This will save many lives from premature death. [Zia Uddin Ahmed]