Blood banks in Tiruchi do not face difficulty in replenishing stocks due to factors like scorching heat, summer holidays or election season as on-call voluntary donors are always available.
On an average, the blood bank at the government hospital is able to supply about 11,000 to 12,000 units of blood per year. “We have facilities to supply whole-blood, plasma and platelets. However, the supply is restricted to government healthcare facilities. Private hospitals have tie-ups with private banks. We provide blood to patients under the Employees’ State Insurance scheme but a special request form is required,” says Yeganathan R. Medical Superintendent, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital. The GH blood bank can store up to 2,000 units at a time but usually don’t maintain storage to optimal level as there is constant demand.
“It’s usually tough during April and May due to heat, dehydration, examinations and holidays. Blood donation drives too do not get enough response as most people go out of the station. But, keeping a record of regular donors ensures hassle free supply,” says, C. Bhuvaneswari, district blood transfusion officer, Tiruchi.
Aspiring donors, above 18 years of age fulfilling the specified criteria, can walk into the GH blood bank and sign up for blood donation. The prospective donor’s weight must be over 45 kg and haemoglobin must be at least 12.5 (g/dL). Their blood sugar and pressure should be normal. “There are some restrictions. For instance, one cannot donate blood for at least a year after being transfused with blood or had piercings or tattoos or had undergone acupuncture treatments. Those treated for Hepatitis B or C, jaundice or had been involved in accidents or received rabies shots cannot donate for a year,” says Dr. Bhuvaneswari. Those treated for dengue or had undergone dental treatment cannot donate for at least six months. The blood banks accept blood from those in the habit of consuming alcohol and smoking with utmost caution.
Acknowledging that there have been times when the blood bank has faced shortages, Alagusundaram, Blood Bank lab technician, says they usually set up a public camp at residential localities or at colleges to quickly increase their stock. “On an average, we conduct 11 to 12 blood donation drives across the city every month. This ensures a steady supply and more importantly creates awareness of the need for donation.”
Private banks, meanwhile, operate in coordination with WhatsApp groups and voluntary donors. The number of donors has significantly increased in the last two to three years “Most private hospitals ask the patient’s family to arrange for blood and make sure that the donors present themselves on their premises.
Every day, we get over 10 to 12 requests for blood units and are able to fulfil almost all of them, We have to facilities to store up to 250 to 300 units of blood at a time,” says Nagananthan, Blood Bank Manager, Friends Blood Bank, Tiruchi.
Private Blood Banks are required to secure approval from the district blood transfusion officer for conducting donation camps. They are required to donate 25 per cent of the collection made at the camp to the government blood bank. Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society and Tamil Nadu State Blood Transfusion Council conduct regular checks at private blood banks who are required to send monthly compliance reports. A temperature maintenance record and donor record is maintained and audited.
(source : The Hindu)