Govt okays transfer of excess blood between banks

Govt okays transfer of excess blood between banks

The Centre on Monday allowed transfer of excess blood from one blood bank to another, hoping to expand the availability of the life-saving fluid.

“The health ministry is permitting the transfer of blood from one blood bank to another. This was not allowed earlier and will help in transfer of blood to places of scarcity,” the ministry said in a statement. As on February, 2015 said there are 2760 blood banks across the country.

The National Blood Transfusion Council (NATC) has prepared detailed guidelines on safe transfer of blood between two banks. The stored blood has a shelf-life of 35-42 days.
India currently faces a shortage of about three million units due to inadequate collection. The problem is further compounded by skewed stock pattern where one bank may be facing storage problems for having excess blood whereas another have inadequate supply.

An official estimate by the National AIDS Control Organisation last year showed that annual collection of blood units increased from 44 lakh in 2007 to 93 lakh in 2012, but there are still districts that do not have blood banks nor the blood storage units. There is only one blood bank for every two million population.

Transfer of excess packets of blood is one the two initiatives towards better utilisation of blood and blood components to ensure safe blood and enhanced access to blood products, on the recommendation of the NBTC.

The second step is to regularise the plasma sale by determining an exchange value Rs 1600 per litre of plasma for the blood banks. The banks, however, have been barred from selling the excess plasma against cash money.

The banks with surplus plasma can exchange it for consumables, equipment or plasma derived products, as per their need. This is expected to increase the availability of essential life saving medicines like human albumin, immunoglobulins and clotting factors, which are derived from plasma. It would reduce India's dependence on import of these products, says the statement.

In the absence of proper regulations, surplus plasma is currently being traded or sold by the blood banks as per their own wish.

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