Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: The Indian Red Cross Society, which supports 50 per cent of the Capital’s thalassemia load, is in the process of revamping its system to make the procurement of blood for the patients more convenient. A part of the Society’s modernisation drive, the revamping will allow patients to make use of a more efficient and useful blood bank.

“We are in the process of modernisation and the entire process will take nearly five to six months. The process of procuring blood for thalassemia patients will undergo a revamp with us introducing two new systems to make the process more quality efficient,” said Vanshree Singh, director blood bank, Indian Red Cross Society.

Under the new revamped system, the Indian Red Cross will be offering ‘leucodepletion’ — where the white blood cells have been depleted — and introduce Sagam bags which will ensure that the blood can be used for longer durations.

“The process of procuring Sagam bags from the Delhi AIDS Control Society has already been initiated and we should be getting them soon. The Indian Red Cross caters to over 900 thalassemia patients who are dependent on the Society for blood transfusion,” said Dr. Singh.

A lakh Indians affected

Statistics reveal that in India thalassemia major affects over 1,00,000 people and over 8,000 reported thalassemia births take place every year. There are, however, many more unreported cases as well.

The most common treatment for all major forms of thalassemia is red blood cell transfusion. These transfusions are necessary to provide the patient with a temporary supply of healthy red blood cells with normal haemoglobin capable of carrying the oxygen that the patient’s body needs. Today, most patients with a major form of thalassemia receive red blood cell transfusions every two to three weeks.

“As red blood cell transfusion is the most common treatment, the blood banks play a pivotal role in this. It provides free of charge red cells to over 900 thalassemic patients out of the over total registered 2,500 patients in Delhi,” said a senior official at the Indian Red Cross Society.