Mumbai: FDA asks Netas, Babus to organise blood donation drives

To address the shortage of blood across the city, the Food and Drugs Administration on Tuesday has appealed to all political parties, NGOs, district collectors and other government bodies to organise blood donation camps on the birthdays of political leaders as well as on anniversaries, and other similar events.

“We have made appeals to the public for blood donation. The current stock will last only for a week. The need for blood has increased with the introduction of regular surgery in the unlocked period now. Regular blood transfusions are needed for thalassemia and cancer patients,” said FDA officials.

According to the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC), the city has blood stock only for a week. The patient's kin are running from pillar to post to arrange for replacement blood to save the lives of their loved ones. The FDA attributed this shortage to fewer blood donation drives organised across the state amid fear of contracting coronavirus during the pandemic.

Dr Arun Thorat, director, SBTC said the city requires around 900 units of blood daily. Due to the lockdown, the hospitals didn’t receive a large number of non-Covid and trauma patients following which the demand of blood transfusion was reduced. But since the lockdown relaxation, the demand for blood has gradually increased.

“Since the outbreak (of Covid-19), blood donation camps are recording only 50% response from the public. Even though people are going out with the gradual relaxation of the lockdown, they refuse to donate blood. We have bloodstock only for a week,” he said. The blood banks in the city are running out of supply. Some of the blood banks have stock in single-digit units.

Even major hospitals like Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Nair Hospital and Dr RN Cooper Municipal General Hospital have been facing an acute shortage of blood. People are still shy or scared of stepping out of their home. These hospitals used to have a stock of around 300 units of blood, which has now gone down to 100 units.

Hospitals like St George Hospital, Rajawadi Hospital, Cama And Albless Hospital have below 50 units of blood. As hospitals have started taking non-COVID-19 patients, the demand for blood has increased drastically. Blood transfusion is the main treatment for patients suffering from thalassemia and haemophilia as well as in the case of accidents, amongst other health complications. Often patients need only freshly drawn blood. So, the blood units given to these patients cannot be more than a week old from the collection date.

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