World Blood Donor Day: Issues plaguing blood donation  

On the eve of International Blood Donation Day on June 14, the country is facing four problems which require attention, which the layman needs to aware about

World Blood Donor Day: Issues plaguing blood donation
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At one end, there is wastage of blood while at the other end there is dearth of blood supply. While there are new apps for blood donors being developed each year, there also are those who operate ‘paid’ blood donation in the country.

While hospitals are overcharging for blood, the government authority has no power to suspend the licence of the blood bank over the same. When the cases of transmission of HIV through blood donation are still reported, interblood bank transfer is yet to take off.

Wastage of blood vs shortage of blood supply:

Thousands of units of blood are discarded every year. People read such news reports and think that there is no need to donate blood. But, there is always dearth of supply in the country.

There are around 70 districts in the country without a government blood bank. Especially during summertime, as people are gone for vacations, a shortage of blood supply is evidently seen.

Transfusion of HIV through blood donation:

There are 14,474 cases of HIV infection through blood transfusion which have been reported in India in the last seven years. The rate of HIV infection through blood transfusion is thousand times more than that is in USA.

The phenomenon of ‘paid blood donation’ still operates in the country, making receiver vulnerable to HIV infections. ‘Paid blood donation’ exists, because of lack of blood supply in many parts on the country.

Hospitals overcharging patients:

The Maharashtra FDA in 2015 had surveyed 310 blood banks and found that 74 were overcharging patients. There is no strict regulation to control this menace. The government authority cannot suspend the licence of these blood banks also. Civil society groups are asking for stringent regulations on the same.

Replacement blood donation:

When a doctor asks you for arranging the blood when your near and dear once need it, do they really use the same blood for treatment. No, they replace the stored blood with the new blood that you have arranged. This is called replacement blood donation.

The National Blood Transfusion Council disallows replacement blood donation. Blood banks are expected to encourage voluntary blood donation. Voluntary blood donation has the less risk of infections getting transmitted.

WHO guidelines mention that, replacement blood donation cannot ensure enough supply of blood and voluntary blood donation should be encouraged. Also, relatives and friends find it difficult to manage blood supply and that becomes a big challenge for them.

To control this menace of replacement donors, government has allowed blood banks to have a bulk transfer of blood and its components between them. But this interbank transfer of blood is yet not made functional in all the states.