Blood banks facing shortage

Shortfall estimated at 1.5 lakh units of blood every year

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Blood banks in the city are facing a shortage of 1.5 lakh units of blood every year.

India needs 7.5 million units of blood every year and Karnataka needs about 4 lakh units. But only 4 million units of blood are available in the country, says H.T. Balakrishnan, Deputy Director, Blood Safety at the Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society. "With accidents in the city increasing every day, the need for blood is even more urgent," he said.

This World Blood Donation Day, which is on Saturday, doctors are urging more individuals to come forward and voluntarily donate blood. "We need voluntary non-remunerative donors. That is the key," Dr. Balakrishnan said.

Doctors say several reasons ranging from lack of opportunity and interest to misconceptions of blood donation and concerns over the safety of blood banks has prevented more people from donating. According to statistics, 90 per cent of persons do not know the location of blood banks and more than 70 per cent do not donate blood simply because no one asked them to.

"Most persons think of donating only when their relatives have an emergency. There is a high risk associated with direct donations because there is not much time to screen the blood for a host of infectious diseases,'' said Suresh Mohammed.

"Blood on the shelf is always safe because the window period for infectious diseases to show up has elapsed,'' he said.

In 2004, 3,46,883 units of blood were collected.

Out of these, 7,732 units have tested positive for different infections such as HIV, Malaria and Hepatitis, said Dr. Balakrishnan.

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