Availability of ‘rare blood groups’ should be displayed online: State Blood Transfusion Council

Mumbai: Soon the blood banks across the state will display a list of ‘rare blood groups donors’ for the convenience of patients' kin. Officials from the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) confirmed the development stating, the state government has directed them to send a notice to all the blood banks asking them to maintain an online registry of rare blood groups and donors.

This comes after the urban development minister stated, it is the responsibility of the civic administration, to ensure patients get the rare blood groups on time, instead of ordering from private blood banks. “Most of the patients have to run from pillar to post in search of rare blood groups and donors, which usually delays their efforts in getting blood and they are forced to order from private blood banks. This is the reason the state government will issue a notice to all blood banks making it compulsory to display this information online,” said an official.

Earlier, the Central government had instructed that this should have been updated online, but it wasn't followed like many other policies and it was ignored. SBTC officials said there needs to be a centralised system so those people with rarest of blood groups like Bombay Blood Group can locate the specific donors. When one opts to search for a blood group on the website, one gets eight options -- A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and O-. But there is no option for extremely rare Bombay blood group (OH/Bombay phenotype).

Dr Arun Thorat, Assistant Director, SBTC said this list will be of immense help during any accident or medical emergencies and locate donors of rare blood groups as during such times it is rather challenging. “If all blood banks display information on the rare blood groups online then it will benefit many patients. The registration of blood storage and blood availability is being done at the moment, but it isn’t put on the site,” he said. SBTC has also sent notices to blood banks to update their registry. “They would also have to put the number of blood units available on the boards in front of their offices, so that it is visible to people,” Dr Thorat added.

Bombay Blood Group is a rare blood group and was first discovered in Bombay (now Mumbai). It is an extremely rare blood type that lacks all the antigens of the ABO group. In addition, it also lacks the H antigen, and hence is termed as ‘OH’ group. It occurs in 1 out of every 250,000 people.

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