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Blood banks running on ad hoc basis

india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 01:18 IST

--Good News: Health Department has planned to make available the facility of blood components separator in seven blood banks. Patients infected with hemorrhagic Dengue fever could get platelets easily and their life could be protected.
-- Bad News: Out of 153 blood banks including both government and private in the State, 93 blood banks are running without valid licence.  

Though Blood Banks are located in 50 district hospitals, the State Drug Control Department has not renewed the licence of 48.

While 11 blood banks are located in the medical colleges and institutes, licence of only seven have been renewed. Eight blood banks are located in various military hospitals spread across the State. Here too, licence of only one blood bank has been renewed. Among the 83 private blood banks, only 39 have a valid licence.  

The blood banks running without licence have failed to meet the norms set by the Health Department under the Drugs and Cosmetic Acts. The licence of several blood banks expired way back in 1996, others in 1997 and some in 1998. But, all these unlicenced blood banks are continuing with blood collection and distribution activities.

The report of State drug controller SG Prasad submitted to the director general (Medical Health) few days back throws light on the fact that blood banks in the State are being run on ad-hoc basis. During inspection, the Drug Control Department team found that 21 blood banks located in the district hospitals were operating from dilapidated buildings. In other districts, the blood banks were found running from buildings that did not fulfill the standards fixed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

These included blood banks located in Ghazipur, Allahabad, Fatehpur, Azamgarh, Ballia, Ferozabad, Mathura, Basti, Hamirpur, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Sultanpur, Lalitpur, Kanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Bijnore, Lucknow, Kheri, Jhansi and Barabanki district hospitals.

Several blood banks did not have necessary equipment      like die-electric tube sealer used to seal blood bags. Even basic instruments like diagnostic kit, air conditioners and refrigerators were not available in the blood banks.

Die-electric tube sealer is used to seal the blood bags after collecting blood from the donors. With the blood banks using staplers to seal the blood bags, danger of blood getting contaminated or decomposed looms large. Unmindful of the hazard, the defaulter blood banks are releasing blood bags to the needy.

Though the Health Department had allotted funds for the purchase of the equipment, chief medical superintendents (CMSs) were yet to start the purchase process. The State drug controller had directed CMSs to equip blood banks according to guidelines maintained in the Drug Act. But the CMSs have passed the buck to the director general (Medical Health). CMSs said they had written to the DG to release funds for purchasing the required articles, but in vain.

In some blood banks, the officials found that even record of blood bags in store and those issued to patients was not maintained. Drug Control Department officials said that they were left with no other option but to permit the blood banks to function.