Society is of the view that there is no voluntary element in the process of exchange

The Indian Red Cross Society AP State Branch has taken a policy decision not to accept replacement blood donation and collect blood exclusively from voluntary donors.

It is of the view that there is no voluntary element in the process of exchange. In replacement donation, there is also an element of duress and sometimes even professional donors are involved.

“Moreover, the blood has to be processed before transfusion,” State secretary of the Red Cross C. Umamaheshwar Rao explained. In 70 countries, across the world, blood donation is only voluntary. “There is a need to encourage people to walk in and donate blood. Only when the donor is known, can we be sure that the blood is disease-free,” Mr. Umamaheshwar Rao added. With 44 blood banks and 81 blood collection centres in the State, the Red Cross contributes between 25 and 30 per cent of the blood collected in the State every year.

“We would like to encourage blood donation with honesty,” Project Director, Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), C. Parthasarathi said. It is the responsibility of the donor to be honest and declare if they have contracted any disease or are suffering from some infection, he added.

There is a need for more number of individuals donating blood voluntarily and not necessarily an increase in the number of blood banks, he said. There are 241 registered blood banks in the State collecting 7.5 lakh units of blood per year, which have a shelf life of 30 days. The registered blood banks have to supply 30 per cent of their collection to government hospitals, the APSACS Project Director said.

Lean months

Since voluntary blood donation by and large depends upon college students, the summer months become lean months for the blood banks, to overcome this. APSACS, Red Cross and other blood banks are focusing on non-student donors like employees of IT companies, among others, during summer months, Mr. Umamaheshwar Rao said.

Further, most hospitals do not take up elective surgery during May, which also reduces the demand for blood during peak summer, Mr. Parthasarathi explained and added that the APSACS was going to start a campaign to encourage voluntary blood donation, across the State.


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