Orissa Unit of Red Cross had its District Secretaries Meet for three days from 19th to 21st February 2010 at its headquarters at Bhuabneswar where the Secretaries from the Branches made brief presentation of district level activities.
Inaugurating the Conference Sri.S.B.Mishra, former Chief Secretary and active member of the Orissa State Branch Red Cross Executive Committee praised the initiatives of the District Branches and gave a clarion call to all the participants to focus on the core issues, such as voluntary blood collection, disaster management, increase in membership, resource mobilization and health care services. He said that the district branches, in order to play their pivotal role in fulfillment of the objective of Red Cross, should take up more social issues like care for the physically challenged persons who are in a state of increase in the rural areas, modernization of the Blood Storage so as to reduce the wastage of blood collected.
When he appreciated Honorary Secretary Dr.M.P Mohanty ‘s contributions to expanded activities of Red Cross in Orissa State, Dr.Mohanty, appreciated the role of the District Branches and said that the as a humanitarian organization Red Cross could take up more social service activities in the districts.
Focusing on how the need of the Thalassemia patients should be met with priority, he also said that unless we modernize the blood storage mechanism, it would be difficult to cater to the need of the people, particularly of this category.
He also informed about the steps being initiated by the Orissa Govt. for removing the service charges for the patients availing blood as informed by the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Orissa.
There were interactive sessions during the conference on the well functioning of district branches, principles of Red Cross, the genesis of International Committee of Red Cross & International Federation of Red Cross, disaster management practices, Youth Red Cross, Junior Red Cross and the activities of the Family Counseling Centre at the State branch.
Mrs.Rekha Lohani, DCP, Commissionerate police of Bhubaneswar made a presentation on the activities of the regional branch operating under the aegis of the Commissionerate police. The initiatives varied from supporting the victims suffering from different accidents, poor people suffering from serious ailments, books for poor students, orphanages, shelter for women, School for the physically challenged and also endeavors for opening medicine banks.
Sri.Samar Pattnaik, Reader BJB College and former Youth Red Cross Officer highlighted the starting of the Youth Red Cross branch in Orissa which came in to existence as a separate entity in the year 1994. He said that 400 Red Ribbon Clubs have been formed by the Youth Red Cross which has led the awareness campaign among the youth on the need of prevention from HIV/AIDS.
Speaking on the planning and budgetary preparation of the District Red Cross Branches Sri.B.K.Sahoo, an active Executive Committee member said that the districts need to do planning in advance and make resource allocation so that the activities take place in time.
Stressing on transparency, Sri Sahoo said that every district should identify the areas that need to be strengthened and gave thrust on preparation of annual action plan accordingly dividing the same into budget for the activities and monthly action plans with monitoring mechanism to ascertain by end of every month as to which of the activities remained incomplete.
Secretaries from 17 Districts participated in the conference and made presentation of the ongoing Red Cross activities and shared their planned activities for the next financial year.
On the 3rd day of the convention, the Secretaries visited one of the Cyclone Shelters constructed by Red Cross and managed by the community in Tentulia village of Puri District. In the village the Secretaries had very open discussion with the community regarding the management of the shelter and the community expressed its confidence in the management in collaboration with Orissa State Branch.