Blood banks running on low reserves, seek urgent help 

#GS2 #Health  

Health Ministry warns hospitals not to turn away the needy 

  • Pushed against the wall, hospitals across India have now started contacting individual blood donors to tide over the acute shortage of blood that most of them are facing with the continued lockdown. 
  • The worst hit are patients requiring dialysis, having blood disorders, and pregnant women.  
  • We are now dipping very deep into our reserves and will find it very tough to carry on operations if we urgently don’t receive adequate blood supply.  
  • Now the crisis is such that we are calling listed donors and those with rare blood groups to come in and donate. Also, there is a shortage of the commonly seen B-positive blood group. 

Thalassemics fearful 

  • Thalassemics India, an NGO working for patients, has now requested the Health Ministry to help tide over the shortage.  
  • Thalassemia patients need repeated blood transfusions to survive. Indian Red Cross blood bank camps are being cancelled. More than 900 thalassemics take blood for their transfusion from them. 
  • Donors were hesitant to travel to hospitals now to donate blood, and medical supplies were not delivered countrywide by her organisation due to the lockdown, which meant that patients with low immunity could be at risk. 

Transport for donors 

  • The organisation has suggested that the States should try and arrange transportation for donors, and even patients, if possible, to come to medical centres. The group has noted that the worst hit are patients from small towns and villages. 
  • But the problem is not restricted to the supply of blood alone, with the Union Health Ministry having to intervene and ask hospitals to not turn away patients suffering from respiratory or heart diseases, those who require blood transfusions and pregnant mothers, who have reportedly been facing harassment. 
  • Hospitals have to remember that patients who are really ill and require urgent medical attention are venturing out with great difficulty to reach the hospital for treatment in this situation.  
  • The Ministry has now directed hospitals to use tele-consultation, digital prescription and home delivery of medicines. 

Stock blood: Minister 

  • The Minister, speaking about the shortage of blood, said that hospitals should now start working on ensuring sufficient stock of blood for transfusion by encouraging voluntary blood donors and utilising various services like mobile blood collection vans with the help of the Indian Red Cross Society. 
  • The Ministry has asked the Indian Red Cross Society to send mobile blood collection vans to the premises of regular blood donors. 
  • According to the National Blood Transfusion Council, there are 2,023 blood banks in India, which receive 78% of their blood supply from voluntary donors. 
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