Bengaluru

COVID-19 | Restrictions hit blood donations

Karnataka: Bengaluru: 03/10/2018: Members of Karnataka State Government NPS Employees Association organised a  Blood donation programme with the slogan "We will give blood, but not leave pension" at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on  October 03, 2018.
Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Karnataka: Bengaluru: 03/10/2018: Members of Karnataka State Government NPS Employees Association organised a Blood donation programme with the slogan "We will give blood, but not leave pension" at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on October 03, 2018. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

With mass gatherings banned to contain the spread of COVID-19, blood donations have been hit across the State.

Most blood banks are running short of blood and blood components and are now ready to arrange for blood collection even if there are 10 donors from a particular community. The State has 230 blood banks, including 43 government banks. Usually, blood camps are conducted when there are at least 50 or more donors.

Blood banks that usually have a stock of 3,000 to 4,000 units a month now have hardly 80 to 100 units with them. While this has affected patients needing blood during emergencies such as accidents and surgeries, those patients suffering from severe blood disorders (such as thalassemia) and who require regular blood transfusions for survival are the worst hit. Thalassemia patients need at least two units of blood every 15 days.

Camps cancelled

Compounding the problem is closure of colleges and universities and IT employees working from home. “Almost all our scheduled camps in the last fortnight have been cancelled as most colleges and universities have been closed and IT companies have permitted their employees to work from home. COVID-19 fear has kept away even our regular voluntary donors although we have been trying to explain to them that we will take utmost precautions while collecting blood,” Latha Jaganathan, Medical Director and Managing Trustee of Rotary TTK Blood Bank told The Hindu on Monday.

“We supply blood to major hospitals, 27 blood storage centres in the districts apart from catering to the regular patients. Over 100 thalassemia patients get blood transfusion through our bank and shortage is going to hit them the most. As of now we are providing them blood on priority. If the situation continues, we will be forced to ask patients and hospitals for replacement,” she said.

 

Dr Jaganathan, who is also part of the State Blood Transfusion Council, said Rotary TTK has also asked major hospitals where they supply blood to postpone non-emergency surgeries for sometime.

Prashanth Chandrashekar, Ge neral Secretary of Indian Red Cross Society’s Karnataka chapter, said the society was managing as of now as the collection had been good during the last two months. “But if the situation continues, we will be heading towards a s tock out,” she said.

 

Namitha A. Kumar, a thalassaemic who is part of the Open Platform for Rare Diseases, said there is a need to raise awareness on safety of blood donations during such times to avoid issues. “Small blood camps can be organized with just 3 to 4 people. Blood bank personnel will sc reen and ensure no one with fever, cough, cold or flu like symptoms will enter the camp. These precautions ensure donor safety and can be easily implemented,” she said.

Megha Badarinath, a consultant dento-maxillofacial radiologist who is a thalassaemic herself, said she along with Namitha and other volunteers have been coaxing their relatives and friends to go to a nearest blood bank and donate individually. “We have managed to coax nearly 50 people to donate in the last two days,” she said.

However, D. Jayaraju, State Deputy Director (Blood Safety) said blood banks can appeal to individual donors from their registry to donate. “There will be some hiccups in such times of an health emergency. But the situation will improve in the next few days,” he assured.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 1:31:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-restrictions-hit-blood-donations/article31088738.ece