COVID-19: Blood banks struggle to meet demand

Coronavirus: Blood banks struggle to meet demand

In the wake of Covid-19, the blood banks are unable to organise blood donation camps, and even individual donors are hesitant to donate blood. DH file

The Covid-19 scare has hit the blood banks in the city that drying up due to non-availability of donors.

Major blood banks in the city, including the Indian Red Cross Society which used to procure over 6,000 units of blood every month, has come down to 2,000 units in the past fortnight.

The experts said if the situation continues for a few more weeks, then the state would face a dearth of blood.

Following the lockdown and restrictions for mass gatherings in wake to curb spreading of Covid-19, blood banks are unable to organise blood donation camps, and even individual donors are hesitant to donate blood due to the virus scare.

Prashanthi Chandrashekhar, General Secretary of Indian Red Cross Society, said: “As no colleges are functioning and most corporate companies have given work from home option, it has become difficult to find donors. Following the non-availability of blood, we have stopped sending blood to storage centres, which includes government hospitals across the state.”

For emergencies, most of the blood banks stock up the negative blood group.

“Though we have little stock of positive group blood, we are running out of the negative group blood completely,” said Johnson Devraj, lab technician at the Lions Blood bank in Vasanth Nagar.

“Hospitals have postponed elective surgeries now. But if the situation continues, we would not be able to supply blood even for emergencies. We have not witnessed such a drastic decrease in the donation of blood,” said a paramedical staff from one of the major blood banks in Bengaluru.

At the same time, some blood banks were saying that demand for blood also has come down, mainly because hospitals have restricted treatment only for emergency cases and postponing all electives.

According to the details available from the Lions Blood Bank in Bengaluru, the stock of blood has come down three times from the regular availability of blood in normal days!

To avoid scarcity of blood in future, several blood banks are contacting people from the list of donors available and requesting them for a voluntary donation of blood.

Dr C Shivram, consultant, transfusion medicine at Manipal hospital, Bengaluru, said to avoid scarcity of blood in future, several doctors in the hospital are donating blood.

“If the situation continues for the next few weeks, then we will face a severe shortage of blood at the blood banks even for emergencies. People should understand that Covid-19 will not spread through blood. We request donors to donate blood and save lives. At our hospital, doctors have donated blood to overcome the shortage,” said Dr Shivram.