The only blood bank in the district under the Punjab Health Systems Corporation -- at the civil hospital at Kotkapura - has run out of blood.
"We have got less than 10 units of blood available," said a technician at the bank on Saturday. On May 21, there were only 18 units available at the bank, according to the information board at the bank.
According to sources, the bank lacks state-of-the-art technology it is supposed to have. "There are two refrigerators available at the blood bank to store and preserve blood which has a life of 35 days. But one of the refrigerators is lying non-functional, leading to problems. The other refrigerator can store only 100 units of blood, so the bank is working at half its capacity," claimed sources.
"As one of the two refrigerators needs repairs, it has affected our blood donation campaigns. We motivated people to hold blood donation camps, but the health department could not collect the blood as they could not preserve it on account of the non-functional refrigerator," claimed Devinder Kumar Neetu, the president of the city club, who has won the state award by donating blood for over 60 times.
Since the government has increased blood rates at the government blood banks, the donors are annoyed.
"The government has increased per unit rates from Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 if the blood is taken for a patient admitted to a private hospital without any replacement, with replacement it is Rs 750; and if the patient is admitted to a government hospital, the blood can be had for Rs 300 per unit. The increase in prices is condemnable and irrational," Neetu said.
"If the patient is rich, he is ready to buy blood even at Rs 1,000 also without bringing along any donor, but for the poor, it is a difficult situation," Neetu said.
"For the past three months, we have stopped arranging blood donation camps for the blood bank and shifted our focus to the blood bank at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, which is under Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. So the blood is available at Rs 300 per unit," Neetu said.
"There are only two beds for donors. More infrastructure is required; the number of refrigerators should be doubled," demanded Uday Randev, another state awardee for blood donation.
Dr Ramesh Kumar, blood transfusion officer, admitted that one of the two refrigerators was lying non-functional. "We have already written to the authorities for repairing it," he said.
Faridkot civil surgeon Dr Baldev Singh Sahota said all shortcomings would be removed soon.