THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though the Kerala State AIDS Control Society has initiated an exercise to inspect 172 blood banks in the state, experts say that these inspections are meaningless as mandatory guidelines were not being complied with in majority of the centres. Sources said the WHO had conducted a workshop- cum-training programme for blood bank officials on safety aspects. A questionnaire was also circulated among these officials and they were entrusted with the task of inspecting at least three blood banks. However, the inspections were reduced to filling up the questionnaire/check list.
They pointed out that there was no quality manager for blood transfusion in the state. It is mandatory to depute one person from the drugs control department for carrying out the task as laid down by Drugs and Cosmetics Act. In absence of a quality manager, the job is being done by those who have absolutely no knowledge of the Act. Previously, it was managed by some statisticians and now certain MSW people are reportedly handling the job.
Experts say the people inspecting blood banks should follow mandatory guidelines. The teams should inspect five- six areas, including waiting area, donor area, resting area and ensure there is proper AC, medical officer is MD in pathology or MBBS trained in blood banking for at least a year and trained technicians. The blood banks are supposed to maintain proper records about equipment which need to be calibrated daily, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly basis. But these measures are not being followed in many blood banks.
“At the moment, officials are inspecting at least three blood banks in a day when even an entire day is not enough to complete proper inspection as per guidelines of NACO and blood transfusion society,” said a doctor. However, the KSACS says the panel of doctors which has been asked to inspect blood banks will submit a detailed report about the existing facilities and the deficiencies. Steps would also be taken at the earliest. Sources said 60 per cent of the blood banks in the state have annual collection of less than 2000 units. As per National AIDS Control Organisation directive, these have to be converted into blood collection centres. NACO directive has been brushed under the carpet. Experts say major flaws are found in such blood banks across the state.