Blood donations normalise in AP after long hiatus

The donors had become inactive during the three waves of Covid-19 pandemic

VIJAYAWADA: Blood donations in Andhra Pradesh have finally come to normal levels after a long break due to crisis perpetrated by Coronavirus pandemic.

Average requirement of blood in AP is around 5 lakh units per year. Its normal availability has been 3.6 to 4 lakh units. This is largely by way of donations by voluntary blood donors, blood donation clubs, college students and fans associations of popular actors. These donors had become inactive during the three waves of Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, most of the 125 licensed blood banks in the state went dry, which caused hardship to patients requiring critical surgeries, those suffering from cancer and thalassaemia or undergoing haemodialysis and women delivering babies.

However, the situation has been better since past four months. Donors have returned. Colleges and fans associations are conducting blood donation camps.

Availability at almost all blood banks has reached satisfactory levels.
Indian Red Cross Society is the major player with 18 blood banks with latest infrastructure in the state. It has qualified medical and paramedical staff who follow strict quality control guidelines fixed by Government of India and NACO.

AP state coordinator for Red Cross blood banks B.V.S. Kumar said with restoration of normal conditions, blood donors are now coming forward to donate blood during emergencies. He pointed out that Red Cross supplies 30 percent of blood collected by it to government general hospitals. It provides free of cost unlimited units of blood required for children suffering from thalassaemia.

The coordinator pointed out that Red Cross has established blood transfusion centres for thalassaemia children in Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Eluru and Nellore. Steps are being taken to start such centres in some more districts.

Kumar explained that some operations like cardiac and lung surgeries need warm blood. This means blood donors have to be present at the time of surgeries.

For this purpose, their organisation is planning to conduct awareness programmes in colleges for motivating youth to enrol themselves with Red Cross under “Donors on Call” category. Their services could be utilised for such specialised surgeries and in emergencies.

The coordinator said Red Cross is contemplating to make available blood at non-blood bank locations by encouraging blood storage points. This will mitigate time lost in transporting blood over long distances in emergencies.

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