Smaller groups, physical distancing, and the use of masks and sanitisers. The state public health department has issued standard operating protocols to blood banks asking them to take these precautions.
“A series of directives have been issued to blood banks asking them to organise blood donation camps based only on the requirements. They have been asked to ensure donation drives, where the number of donors will not be large. Smaller groups like those of 25 each must be organised. Social distancing must be deployed and use of masks and sanitisers is necessary,” said a senior official from the state public health department.
This will be a change from normal times, where political parties, leaders and organisations, take pride in conducting blood donation drives, where thousands queue up to donate blood.
The demand for blood had also reduced as routine surgical procedures were yet to begin in the real sense, the official added.
An official from the Maharashtra State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) said they had adequate stocks of blood. “However, this is a continuous process as blood has a limited shelf life. Hence, it must be replenished round the year,” he explained.
In 2019, the state has seen 17.23 lakh blood units being collected. Maharashtra has 341 blood banks.
The health department and SBTC have also tied up with Facebook to ensure that the blood donation tool on the social media network is used to get blood. Facebook's blood donation campaign has around 71 government blood banks on board. If they need blood, they will raise the demand on the Facebook page, to reach out to registered blood donors on Facebook.