Blood banks' portal may ease shortage

AB negative, Bombay blood group among rare types

Blood banks' portal may ease shortage

Procuring blood for emergency health conditions, especially of rare groups, is set to become that much easier in the State.

Blood banks are set to be linked through a portal, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, thus greatly reducing the shortage of blood. This, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader believes, will prove to be a boon.

The portal, linking all 127 blood banks in the State, will be operational in three months. The website will contain information about the availability of blood units of specific groups.

“We will see which blood bank has proper infrastructure and link them all through a common website,” explained Manoj Kumar Tripathi, project director of the Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society. There are also plans to have call centres for people who cannot access the internet. 

The total number of blood units that is required by the State each year is at least one per cent of the State’s population.

“On an average, six lakh units are required by the State each year and we meet the demand most of the time,” said Tripathi.

Currently, mostly 30 per cent of what is transfused is by a process of replacement donation (when a patient is in need of a particular group of blood, a relative or friend is asked to donate to meet the demand), the project director said, adding that they aim to have 100 per cent voluntary donation.

“The State is self sufficient. We meet the demand most of the time and there is hardly any shortage,” said Tripathi. However, problem arises when a particular blood group is required and the nearby blood banks do not have that group.

South Karnataka has enough voluntary donors, mostly because of the large number of donation camps held, but North Karnataka lags behind due to myths associated with blood donation. 
Dr Prilsee, blood donation officer, Lady Curzon and Bowring Hospital, said AB negative (among main groups) and Bombay blood group were tough to find. On an average, the hospital receives 20 units of blood daily, of which 15 is utilised, she said.

Rakesh, a senior volunteer from Sankalp India Foundation that works to help people locate people with Bombay blood group, a rare ABO group, said the major problem was lack of networking and that not every person with O positive group belonged to the Bombay blood group.

Only about one in 18,000 people have this,” said Rakesh, adding that it would be expensive to import the same from other states.

“Most blood banks mistake the Bombay group to be O positive and there have been cases where this led to severe health complications to the blood receptors, ” the volunteer said. Currently, his organisation has identified only about 400 donors of this group, he said. “We now have a website,, to help the needy,” he said.

Rakesh said though all blood banks update details about the available stock on the drug controller’s website, there is a lack of proper co-ordination as a person from one part of the State will not have information about blood needed in another bank.

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