Major blood banks in the city will now be able to make better use of blood collected through donation as well as ensure safer blood transfusions.
The National AIDS Control Organisation has allotted eight customised, refrigerated vans to Mumbai for safe and efficient transportation of blood from donation camps to banks, which have blood component separation facilities.
Blood needs to be separated into components — plasma, platelets, red blood cells and cryo — within eight hours of collection to ensure it doesn’t lose its therapeutic potency.
It is considered better to give patients only the component they require but banks often have to use it whole because they miss the deadline. “Most blood banks have one van so they manage to transport some of the blood units collected but not all. It is also difficult to maintain the cold chain in regular vans,” said Dr Yogini Patel, joint director of the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS).
The blood banks at Tata Memorial, JJ, KEM, Nair and Sion hospitals are among the eight that will be given the vans.
MDACS is promoting 100 per cent separation of all blood collected as it will address the shortage of blood and also help reduce the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.
Transfusion with infected blood is one of the main routes of HIV transmission. There is a 0.4 per cent chance of donated blood being infected with HIV as the tests conducted cannot pick up the virus in the initial six-month period.
“Thanks to separation of components, we can give blood from one donor to two to three people instead of one. So, if the total number of donors required in Mumbai goes down from 1 lakh to 75,000, the incidence of infection also reduces,” said Dr Harish Pathak, additional director of MDACS.
Around 250 such vans have been provided to districts across the country under the National AIDS Control Programme’s blood safety programme.