Staff Reporter

Plans pilot project to address the issue of blood security in the State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A modern health care system cannot function effectively without a blood service that assures blood security to all citizens, Social Welfare Secretary Usha Titus has said.

She was speaking at a meeting of the Public Affairs Forum here on Friday, a press released said.

Blood security means that any patient requiring blood should be assured of the supply of blood that he or she needs at any time. In most countries in the world, including many developing countries, blood services are run by the government or by the Red Cross or by similar organisations. A patient admitted to a hospital is thereby assured of the blood required for the treatment.

Blood has been classified as a drug. Hospitals should therefore be able to ‘indent’ for safe blood just like they do for drugs from stores.

In the country and in Kerala there is no centralised management of blood services which results in lack of standardisation of processes and outcomes, lack of training, poor quality standards, inadequacy of blood availability relative to demand, and a near-complete neglect of those requiring regular transfusions for chronic blood disorders, she pointed out.

Moreover, the onus of finding blood donors is on the patient. Even if all the 137 blood banks in India run well according to accepted standards of quality, the goal of blood security for all citizens will be a distant dream. The government is planning to address the issue of blood security by setting up a centralised blood collection, processing and distribution centre on a pilot basis, Dr. Titus said.

A Community Blood Centre (CBC), which will be supported by an organisation composed entirely of voluntary donors, but run by professionals, will be established. The CBC will function similar to the Milk Cooperative Society. Blood collected from voluntary blood donors will be processed in the factory-like environment of the processing centre. It will be distributed to the CBC and stored there according to standard specifications. Participating hospitals will simply have to indent the required units of blood from the CBC. The existing blood banks in hospitals will function as storage and cross-matching centres. Patients will get safe blood from repeat regular donors without having to run from pillar to post to arrange for donors, she said.

An extensive study carried out by Public Health Consultant Dr. Shailaja Tetali showed that private hospitals in Kerala are willing to support the CBC initiative. The success of the CBC project will depend heavily on continued support from the government, from NGOs, donor groups, and participation of youth through the Club 25 movement. This should be seen by all stakeholders as an indispensable part of the health care delivery mechanism, the press note quoted her as saying.