After water... Bangalore now runs out of Blood
By Sharadha Kalyanam | ENS - BANGALORE
04th July 2012 08:26 AM
Every two minutes, a person in Bangalore is in need of blood. But hospital officials say that currently there is a shortage of blood across the city.
NGO records show that there are more than 50 blood banks in Bangalore. Prominent blood banks in the city such as the Karnataka Red Cross Blood Bank and Rotary TTK Blood Bank supply 200-300 units of blood per day but the city needs 2 to 2500 units of blood per day and nearly 2,00,000 units of blood annually.
Although the supplies have not reached seriously low levels, the shortage is said to be due to the condition of the Dengue infections in the city that is slowly picking up.
“About 4 to 10 platelet units may be required to treat a case of dengue depending on the severity,” according to Dr Latha Jagannathan, Medical Director and Managing Trustee, Rotary TTK Blood Bank. She said that blood banks need to hold camps in advance because this period tends to repeat every year.
Similarly, Red Cross officials say that all Government organisations are not conducting enough camps. “Blood banks must come together and hold camps. There is a lot of lethargy on the part of several Government Blood Banks,” said Dr Rajashekharappa, Blood Bank Medical Officer, Karnataka Red Cross Blood Bank. Also concerned about the lack of awareness, he said, “People think that the blood they donate cannot be replenished. This insecurity is usually among the first time donors who are almost 30-40 percent of the people who turn up in every camp that we hold.”
He observed that more camps must be mobilised almost on a daily basis to handle the shortage that is primarily due to the sudden rise in the demand for transfusion platelets needed to treat Dengue fever. To address the demand for specific components of blood, that is composed of almost 60 percent of the total demand, the Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society (KSAPS) feels that a more effective way of collecting blood is by separating it into platelets, plasma and red blood cells during the time of collection. If this is done, one bottle of whole blood would benefit two recipients, according to Dr Ramesh, Joint Director- Blood Safety, KSAPS.
This, he said, would ensure that the total demand comes down. “Out of the total units of whole blood we collect, almost 60 percent goes into separation into components depending on the demand,” he said. The KSAPS plans to collect 6,25,000 lakh units of blood across Karnataka in the year 2012-13 out of which 80 percent will be separated component-wise.
Another definite reason for the shortage, according to Rajat Kumar Agarwal, Project-in-charge, Sankalp India Foundation, was the college vacation period. “The largest part of the donations are from college students. Due to the vacation period, we could not collect voluntary blood.”
This, said Rajat, is the time when other blood banks need to conduct more camps. “This is an annual pattern. Since IT companies and other organisations are functioning regularly, blood banks must have more camps in these places,” he opined.
Rajat also said that the lean period that began in mid-May has improved after the World Blood Donors’ Day on June 14 and is expected to continue till mid-July, adding that this is the best time to visit a Blood Bank and donate blood.
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