Blood wastage drops sharply, reveals RTI query

From over 11,000 blood units discarded in 2011, the figure dropped to 3,928 units last year

June 08, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 16, 2016 11:28 am IST - MUMBAI:

Blood wastage in the city has dropped sharply, if figures released by 60-odd blood banks for the last five years are an indicator.

The Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) has in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query shown that the number of blood units discarded have dropped consistently since 2011. The information from the city’s 60-odd blood banks was given to activist Chetan Kothari in response to his RTI query on blood units collected and discarded over the last five years.

Blood bank and State officials credited better networking between blood banks for the drop in wastage figures.

The information Mr. Kothari got on May 7 shows that from over 11,000 blood units discarded in 2011, the figure dropped to 3,928 units last year.

In the data (see box), the discarded units are given as a composite number for the 2011-13 period, but for 2014 and 2015, wastage for each blood component is given.

Officials, however, said only the “whole blood figure” should be considered while calculating wastage.

Officials of MSACS told The Hindu it took them considerable time to collect the data from all the blood banks and that it was only when they collected the information that they saw a drop in wastage numbers.

“The data we have given is what we received from the individual banks,” said Dr. Shrikala Acharya, additional project directors, MSACS.

Asked if the reason for the sharp drop was looked into, she said these details are not checked. Nevertheless, she said, between 2011 and 2013, the average wastage is between 9,000 and 11,000 units. “On average, the total blood collection is 3 lakh units, of which about 3 per cent expires, which is not a huge figure,” Dr Acharya said, adding there is always need for surplus stock to stay prepared for emergency situations.

Going forward, blood banks have been told to document the reason for discarding blood under two categories: as per expiry date and for infected blood. Dr. Acharya said to check wastage further, mega blood donation drives are not being advocated to prevent excessive collection.

But the drop in wastage numbers is reflective of better coordination among blood banks, said Dr. Neelam Nijera, secretary of Federation of Bombay Blood Banks.

Dr. Nijerasaid there is much networking between blood banks and the government’s clearance to bulk blood transfer between blood banks in Mumbai last year has only pushed up the utilisation of blood. “[Blood banks] have a WhatsApp group and each one of us exchanges information on it. The bulk transfer of blood has also ensured blood doesn’t go waste.”

Vinay Shetty of NGO Think Foundation, which promotes blood donations, said the information received through RTI should be studied through the lens of months as well, to show in which period of the year the wastage was highest.

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