The State Blood Transfusion Council has issued a circular directing all Navratri organisers to conduct blood donation and awareness drives for prevalent illnesses such as COVID-19, dengue and malaria, instead of garba or dandiya. SBTC officials said the demand for blood has increased eversince non-COVID-19 patients began visiting hospitals. Currently, the city’s blood banks have stock only for a week.
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, as 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.
“When complete lockdown was in force, hospitals did not receive many accidental or non-COVID-19 patients. So, there was enough stock of blood. However, as the city has begun unlocking gradually, the need for blood has increased. Every day, the city requires 900 units of blood. However, hospitals are not even receiving 50 per cent of the required blood quantity,” he said.
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.
“Since the outbreak of the virus, blood donation camps are recording only 50 per cent response from the public. Even though people are going outdoors with the gradual relaxation of the lockdown, they refuse to donate blood for a good cause. We have blood stock only for a week,” said Dr Arun Thorat, director of SBTC.
SBTC, on September 29, issued a circular stating, “Organisers of Navratri should create awareness regarding COVID-19, dengue and malaria instead of conducting garba and dandiya. They should organise blood donation camps.”