Andhra Pradesh

Pandemic hits blood donations in Prakasam

A woman donating blood at a camp in Ongole.   | Photo Credit: KOMMURI SRINIVAS

Summer is when blood banks in Prakasam district usually face a shortage of blood. But this time, with the pandemic raging in the country, the situation has worsened leaving the health professionals worried.

Curfew adds to the woes

Blood banks depend heavily on members of GenX who volunteer to do the needful and offer a new lease of life to critical patients. Organising blood donation camps in colleges was one way through which NGOs got donors. However, with all degree and engineering colleges shutting down and many leaving for their hometowns, the important source of blood is now unavailable. With the partial curfew in force in the State, NGOs are finding it difficult to organise camps to rope in other sections of the society.

The health staff, clueless on meeting the ever-increasing demand for blood to attend to trauma and other emergency cases, have no option but to postpone all elective surgeries.

‘Grave crisis’

“The IRCS blood bank has had zero stocks in the last 10 days. We did not face such a severe shortage even during the first wave of coronavirus,” Indian Red Cross Society Prakasam unit Chairman P. P. Prakash Babu said while taking stock of the situation.

On top of that, with those falling in the 18-45 age group set to receive vaccine in the next few days, the shortage is only going to be accentuated. Youngsters, who just received the second dose of vaccine, have to wait for 28 before donating blood, he said in a conversation with The Hindu.

“The demand for safe blood for patients is in the range of 150 to 200 units per month in the district headquarters alone,” he explained. The situation is no different at other blood banks in the district.

“Even if relatives are ready to pay a hefty fee, there is no blood. Relatives of those requiring blood for complex surgeries run from one blood bank to another and get it in many cases only after arranging for replacement,” he said.

The long-awaited automated blood component separator has not seen the light of the day. Though ₹80 lakh has been promised by the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation as part of its corporate social responsibility, the facility has not materialised yet.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 7:21:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/pandemic-hits-blood-donations-in-prakasam/article34545857.ece

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