In a country as large as India, we have just 3 blood banks for every 10-lakh population. As per the data of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India has a total of 2903 blood banks, out of which Maharashtra has 328, the highest for any state. With population of over 11.42 crore, Maharashtra has just 328 registered blood banks.
Adding another shocking fact to this, the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) revealed that over six lakh litres (28 lakh units), of blood has been wasted in last five years, that too when India is facing a shortfall of nearly three million units of blood annually.
Noted that a normal blood has a shelf life of 35 days much less compared to plasma which could be stored up to over 1 year. The data by NACO stated that as much as 50 per cent of the wasted units of blood were of plasma. However, in India with an increase of around 12%, the number of units of blood collected has gone up from 9.94 million in 2013-14 to 11.09 million in 2016-17. But even then, the annual collection is less than the total demand.
Here, Maharashtra is the only state to have crossed one-million mark with regard to collection of blood units, followed by the states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The top three positions in the wastage of red blood cells were bagged by Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka, with the latter two also wasting the maximum units of fresh frozen plasma.
The PRO of Ayush Blood Bank, S. Shridhar said that the data seems to be slightly confusing. I wonder, if that many people are even donating blood. Because no blood bank can store the blood above its capacity. “However, it is possible that the blood which has been disposed must be infectious or does not match to the standards of donation”, he added.
“Another problem we face is less donation. Suppose if the need is for 10 people, then there are less than half people coming for donations. In summers, this ratio becomes 1:10, because people have many beliefs that donating blood during this could be harmful to their health and so. But, between April-July, there is immense need of blood and most of the blood banks becomes almost dry”, added Shridhar.
Noted that as per World Health Organisation (WHO), if 1% of the people in a country donates their blood, it is enough to cater nation’s most basic requirements for blood. But the data of NACO shows, voluntary blood donation in country is a matter of concern. Less than 0.5% of the population are voluntary blood donors in India whereas in the west, more than 3% of the population are voluntary blood donors.
Dr Megha Nawade, HIV AIDS specialist said, “We cannot entirely say that 6 lakh litres of blood that has been dumped was useful. Why would the blood be disposed when there is already an acute shortage in our country.
It might be possible that the blood was infected with some sort of complications. Many times, it happens that donors have HIV infection or malaria, also, sometimes they are on antibiotics, which are few conditions that do not allow them to donate blood. While doing the post testing, these conditions are checked. Though, I also feel that there is a lack of communication between the donors and authorities.
Earlier, the donors were not told that their blood has been rejected because of particular infection, but now NACO has introduced this guideline and asked every bank to make the person aware of any such issue they are facing.
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