Maharashtra State Blood Transfusion Council Mandates Free Blood Allocation For Thalassemia Patients At Private Facilities

Maharashtra State Blood Transfusion Council Mandates Free Blood Allocation For Thalassemia Patients At Private Facilities

Two to three blood centres were linked up to nearby thalassemia day care centres through their blood centre in Mumbai for the issue of free blood on a pilot basis.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 09:42 PM IST
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To facilitate the seamless provision of free blood to patients, particularly those with thalassemia and other blood disorders, the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has issued a circular. This directive mandates all private blood banks to allocate a specified number of blood units each month to thalassemia daycare centres affiliated with them.

Following the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) guidelines and the Maharashtra government’s circular, licensed blood centres are obligated to provide free blood to people suffering from Thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell, or any other blood disorder necessitating repeated transfusions.

According to a senior health official, this decision has been taken in the 45 and 46th meeting of the Governing Board of the SBTC held on February 22, 2021 and July 8, 2021, respectively. Moreover, two to three blood centres were linked up to nearby thalassemia day care centres through their blood centre in Mumbai for the issue of free blood on a pilot basis.

“We have revised the allocation of blood centres for the issue of free blood to Thalassemia patients and blood banks have to provide monthly minimum blood units (packed cells) under inter-blood centre bulk transfer free of cost by following the guidelines of inter-blood centre bulk transfer issued by the NBTC,” the official said.

The model is being tried as a pilot project in the city. As per the plan, St George Hospital’s thalassemia unit has been linked to Jaslok and Bombay Hospital’s blood banks, which would have to provide 25 and 20 bags, respectively, every month. JJ Hospital’s thalassemia day care centre has been linked with the blood banks of SRCC, Prince Aly Khan, and Breach Candy hospitals. All have to provide 10 bags each.

Effectively, 17 thalassemia centres, mostly in public medical colleges, have been linked with 47 blood banks. “Some blood centres issue more than 40% of their blood collection to patients, while others are issuing a meagre amount or none at all. Some banks even demand replacement of blood,” said an SBTC official.

He added, “There must be one or two incidents where a thalassemia patient may have been charged for blood, but the major problem faced by them is being asked to arrange blood for the transfusion. This happens more during a shortage. It is also observed that the blood banks do not treat thalassemia patients on a priority basis when there is a shortage of blood.

Instructions for blood banks

- Stick to the minimum specified units for transfer.

- Coordinate with the Blood Transfusion Officer at the receiving center

- Transfer in two lots, one per fortnight, after mutual discussions

- Transfer only Packed Red Blood Cells

- Blood units should be collected no earlier than 15 days before the transfer

- Include at least three different blood groups in the transferred units

- Accompany the transfer with a duplicate issue form

- Receive acknowledgment of receipt from the receiving blood centre

- Receiving blood centre responsible for collecting units

- Submit a monthly list of beneficiaries to the issuing blood centre.

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