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Blood banks can now lend blood to each other

cities Updated: Jun 14, 2017 13:41 IST

Private blood banks in Mumbai can lend blood to each other, said a recent gazette notification issued by the ministry of health and welfare. The new rules aim to reduce wastage of blood.

The notification also removes the annual 2,000-unit limit for transfer of blood from mother blood banks to blood storage centres.

A reply to a recent Right to Information query said that in 2016-17, blood banks in India wasted around 6.57lakh units of blood. Mumbai alone, with its 61 blood bank, had reported about 39,117units (13,690 litres) of blood wastage during 2011-2015, according to the Mumbai AIDS Control Society.

KL Sharma, joint secretary, ministry of health and welfare, in the letter, said, “The human blood and blood components may be transferred, under prescribed storage conditions, to another blood bank which have facilities to store and monitor blood distribution.”

He added that the recipient blood bank should not further transfer the units obtained from another blood bank except to another blood storage centre or a patient. Officials said though blood banks have already been loaning blood in some parts of the country, the act is now amended to allow it legally.

Speaking with HT, a blood transfusion officer (BTO) from the city said lifting the cap on blood transfer will also resolve the issue of blood shortage.

Earlier, rules mentioned that the consumption of whole blood or its components in peripheral hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres shall not be more than 2,000 units annually. “The smaller facilities could only receive 2,000 units of blood from mother blood banks like JJ or KEM in a year. Considering the blood shortage every year during summer and Diwali vacations, lifting the limit will ease pressure on smaller blood storage centres and hospitals dependent on them,” said the BTO.