Blood shortage looms as donation dips

Blood shortage looms as donation dips

Karnataka needs 5.30 lakh units per year; govt to create awareness in northern districts

Blood shortage looms as donation dips

The State is likely to face acute shortage of blood in the coming days as there is hardly any donation activity outside the medical hubs. There is, however, huge requirement for blood in scores of smaller cities and towns because of lack of awareness about the importance of donation.

It’s high time the Karnataka State Blood Transfusion Council (KSBTC), Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society (KSAPS) and Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) — which are linked with blood-related issues — focused their attention on smaller cities and towns, says Adi Keshava Prakash Sastry, founder-member, Lifeline Voluntary Blood Donor’s Organisation (LVBDO).

“There is a total lack of awareness among youths in urban and semi-urban areas about the importance of blood donation. There is acute shortage of blood in districts such as Bidar, Gulbarga, Koppal, Raichur and Bijapur as donation activities take place only in medical hubs — Bangalore, Hubli, Mysore, Davangere, Belgaum and Mangalore where all facilities are available,” Sastry, 42, who has donated blood 112 times during the last 25 years, told Deccan Herald.

Consequently, these areas are heavily dependent on medical hubs for blood. Besides, there are fewer blood donors in the State. The KSBTC, KSAPS and IRCS promote blood donation only in medical hubs. “These agencies should promote blood donation in rural areas as well,” he suggests.

Dr Suresh Hanagawadi, Professor of Pathology at JJM Medical College, Davangere, says Karnataka requires 5.30 lakh units of blood every year. While 3.82 lakh units are collected per annum, of which 2.06 lakh (about 53.90 per cent) is collected from voluntary blood donors. The remaining 47 per cent is collected from replacement or relative donors.

“We should promote voluntary blood donation as replacement or relative donors may carry the risk of transmitting blood-borne infections. All negative groups are rarely available and there is more demand for these groups. We should encourage youths with negative blood groups to donate blood,“ Hanagawadi suggests.

Blood promotion, he adds, is important for those suffering from thalassaemia — a rare disorder caused by  the weakening and destruction of red blood cells — as they are dependent on blood transfusion support facility. Many youths in big cities suffer from hyper tension and heart ailments due to changed lifestyles. Donating blood regularly will reduce their risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, he explains.

The Deputy Director for Blood Safety, Ravindra, admitted that blood donations camps were not being conducted in semi-urban and rural areas of north Karnataka compared with old Mysore region. “We have hired a bus to collect blood in 15 districts of NK region. It started the journey on June 1 and will station for two days in those districts, including one day in taluk headquarters. The journey will conclude on June 30 and its second phase will begin in October to concentrate on the remaining 15 districts,” he said.

“We will permit a few private blood banks in every district to conduct camps. Corporate hospitals are completely dependent on replacement blood and have failed to encourage voluntary blood donation. We should reduce dependency on replacement blood as it is too risky,” he added.