The Kozhikode district committee of the Kerala Blood Donors’ Forum is celebrating the success of the blood bank set up under its initiative at the Government Hospital for Women and Children at Kottapparamba and waiting for the blood-component separation unit to start functioning at the blood bank.

Formation

The blood bank was founded five years ago as a joint venture between the government and the Kerala Blood Donors’ Forum, and since then has been managed by a trust under the forum while the government has funded it. The blood-component separation unit will start functioning once some machinery arrived from Germany, forum district secretary A.K. Ganeshan told The Hindu.

The forum, founded by Francis Alappatt in 1979 in Kozhikode, has now spread its wings all over the State and has emerged as a dependable support system for patients requiring blood.

Issues

Thirty five years since its inception and after widespread awareness campaigns, people were still afraid of donating blood, and finding donors for rare groups like AB negative was still a hard job, Mr. Ganeshan said.

The forum holds blood donation camps at regular intervals where blood is collected from voluntary donors. On Friday, the World Blood Donors’ Day, the forum is organising a blood donation camp at Hotel Malabar Palace in association with the Kozhikode Medical College Blood Bank and Alliance International Club.

To donate blood, one has to be healthy and weigh above 50 kg.

The collected blood will be tested for infections such as HIV, Hepatitis and Syphilis before being stored in the blood bank or separating its components.

Mr. Ganeshan said that blood banks discouraged women from donating blood as most of the willing women did not qualify the weight specification.

Unscientific blood collection at some of the hospitals, which did not hold a Blood Bank licence, was a major risk factor in the sector. However, no action could be taken against such hospitals unless they made a serious blunder or someone complained, Mr. Ganeshan said.

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