Four people can donate blood at a time in the van

A mobile van for blood donations, belonging to National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), visited Mangalore on Sunday. The aim was to raise awareness about donating blood on the move and to demonstrate the equipment in it, says Nagaraj E., Officer, Red Cross.

The van was on its way back to Bangalore after visiting Kundapur, where it collected 112 units on Sunday.

Four people can donate blood at a time in the van, which is equipped with blood storage facilities. It has four refrigerators, with a total storage capacity of 240 units. The van deposits the blood for storage in local Red Cross blood banks.

It has a staff of five people and 90 per cent of its collections take place in Bangalore. The van cost Rs. 1.5 crore. The van, stationed in Bangalore, goes to other districts on requests from local organisations. It did not collect blood from donors in Mangalore during this visit, he says.

Dr. Nagaraj says he checks whether a person is fit or not to donate blood. Of 100 donors, 15 are unfit due to causes such as low haemoglobin level, low blood pressure or low weight. People with blood pressure problems, uncontrolled sugar and low weight cannot donate blood. Women cannot donate blood when pregnant, lactating or menstruating, or if they have thyroid problems, he said.

All units collected are tested for HIV, hepatitis or malaria. Collected blood is also split into components at the blood banks. The platelets are for use in dengue cases, red blood cells for use in anaemia, and plasma for use in haemophilia cases). Blood can be stored for 35 days at temperatures between 2 to 6 degrees and plasma can be stored for up to a year (under specific conditions).

Murali Mohan, Chairperson of the district unit of Indian Red Cross Society, told The Hindu that a new section called ‘Lifeline’ is being started on the website, redcrossdakshina- kannada.org.

It has more than 1,000 names and contact numbers of blood donors and mentions their blood groups. He says the Red Cross has set up a facility to start a blood bank in Lady Goschen Hospital. However, the blood bank is waiting for license from the New Delhi-based Drug Controller General of India.

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