Rly stations turn into blood donation camps

critical call to fill shortage

Mumbai : The city has a population of 22 million, yet it is facing a drastic shortage of blood that blood banks here are unable to help patients in emergencies.

And as they say unique problems need unique solutions, the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has ordered all city-based and government-run blood banks to organise blood donation drives at eight major railway stations.

“On June 7, SBTC had written a letter to the various civic-run blood banks to arrange donation camps at railway stations and at other places in the city,” a senior official of SBTC said.

Health experts, however, said SBTC’s order dated June 7 has come a bit late as blood banks face a sharp decline during summer and Diwali vacation.

“Every time when schools and colleges break for vacations, there is a shortage of blood as majority of the donors leave town for holidays. To grapple with the shortage, we should prepare in advance, like from January, so that blood banks do not face this crisis,” said an expert.

Dr. Vinay Shetty, founder of – Think Foundation – an NGO mostly working for thalassemia patients said blood shortage is faced in the city since the last four months.

“Such appeals by the SBTC are given only when there is severe shortage of blood. But as the issue comes up every year, the government must decide on a strategy to overcome the crisis,” Dr. Shetty said.

At least 1,000 donors are needed every day and the drive will be organised at eight stations, including Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Churchgate. “On June 7, the drive was organised at CST and Churchgate station where 741 units were collected. More camps will be organised over the next few weeks,” said Dr. Arun Thorat, an SBTC official. He further said hardly 30-40 bottles of blood are collected usually at blood donations camps at railway stations.

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