Bloody poll spectre looms on blood banks in Bengal
Fearing large-scale violence during pre- and post-Assembly elections in the state, West Bengal State AIDS Prevention and Control Society (WBSAP&CS) has asked state-run blood banks to store sufficient units of blood collected from voluntary blood donation (VBD) camps.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose and many leaders of other political parties have already expressed concern in different meetings fearing bloodbaths in one of the state’s most crucial Assembly polls that will be held in six phases starting April 18.
The Election Commission too has singled out West Bengal as being the most violence-prone with a six-phase poll schedule while Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will wrap off the elections in one and two.
“We fear that there might be crisis in supply of blood during April and May. Youth forces play active role in organising blood donation camps. This time a strong section of youths will be engaged with examinations, the World Cup and, above all, elections,” said Dr Tapan Chakraborty, joint director of blood safety under the WBSAP&CS, which monitors the 58 government blood banks in the state.
Chakraborty said, “We have also asked all blood banks to keep adequate stock of blood. We have also decided to sensitise the social organisations and local clubs to organise more blood donation camps.’’
WBSAP&CS has decided to launch state-wide campaigns requesting social organisations and local clubs to organise more VBD camps in order to keep the supply of blood during elections. Some health department officials said that the number of VBD camps has been come down owing to secondary and higher secondary level examinations, World Cup cricket and forthcoming elections.
Around 9,000 units of blood have been collected so far in 2010-2011 period. The figure is higher than that of previous year.
WBSAPCS has also planned to prepare a detailed record of voluntary blood donors and their health condition during the pre-poll period. The society does not have any official records on how many voluntary blood donors exist in the state.
All state blood banks will be asked to send lists of registered blood donors each to the WBSAP&CS soon. “We have a plan to maintain the record of the donors with their individual history of health. We will get them after single click on the mouse of the computers installed in our office,” Chakraborty said.
A Midnapore Medical College Hospital blood bank officer told HT, “Apart from a regular demand of blood we have to treat many injury cases from areas dominated by Maoists in West Midnapore and Bankura. The situation will worsen further during elections.”