Without transfusion of saline-washed Red Blood Corpuscles (RBC) once in 20 days the lives of children with Thalassemia, a blood disorder, are threatened.

Vijayawada has grown into a centre where Thalassemia children from several districts come to get transfusion. Saline-washed RBC is a blood product available at all blood banks. The children who have problem producing Haemoglobin have to under go the transfusion of RBC at the rate of 20 ml per kg body weight once in a month.

It is mandatory for all blood banks to provide saline-washed RBC to all Thalassemia patients unconditionally and free of cost. But none of the 13 blood banks in the city, three of which under the control of NACO, seem to have any available to Thalassemia patients for the past five days. Even the NACO controlled blood banks – Rotary-Red Cross, Lion’s Club and Vijayasri – have been turning away the patients saying that they did not have the blood products of the particular blood group sought by them.

Seven-year-old Dharma Krishna of Reddigudem in Krishna district had to run from pillar to post for his monthly transfusion. Support and Awareness for People with Thalassemia (SAPTHA) Foundation had to find a donor at short notice to provide transfusion for the child.

SAPTHA Foundation chairman V.Sarat Babu told The Hindu that blood banks which should give the blood products free of cost to Thalassemia kids have been refusing saying that they did not have blood of the particular group. Dharma Krishna required blood of the relatively common A-positive group and yet the blood banks said they were out of it.

Though some of the blood banks were “bleeding” donors saying that blood was needed for Thalassemia patients they were not giving it to them, Mr. Sarat Babu said. There were 60 Thalassemia patients who were registered with SAPTHA foundation which coordinates between the patients and blood banks. Many of them come here from as far as Ongole and interior villages in Prakasam district.

While it was mandatory for the Blood Banks to provide blood free of cost and unconditionally some blood banks were insisting that the patients bring a donor for “replacement”.

Mr. Sarat Babu said SAPTHA Foundation was trying to reach the donors directly through its “Book an appointment for blood donation”. Those interested could contact the Foundation by calling 93930-96779 and 93920-96779, he said.