Laila Arzumand Banu
Fellow Since 2002
This profile was prepared when Laila Arzumand Banu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Now that she has established a citizen-based blood bank in the northern district of Natore, Laila Arzumand Banu aims to create a network of local banks across the country. Her work shows that for a relatively low start-up cost, and with basic training, certification, and good relations with doctors and government health programs, it is possible for semi-urban and rural areas to create and manage their own blood supplies. Readily available blood can mean the difference between life and death for accident victims, mothers having complicated labor, and people with hemophilia, thalasaemia, and other chronic diseases that require frequent transfusions. Laila's bank draws blood from donors in the community and enjoys the technical support of local doctors. It has a backup system that preserves its stock when the power goes out. It is open twenty-four hours a day. It tests blood and refers patients to doctors. It subsidizes transfusions for patients who need blood often. Licensed by the government, it is set to be a model for the decentralization of Bangladesh's blood supply.