10 million Indians made to donate blood, reveals NACO data
Mumbai city news: Responding to a RTI query, officials said that between 2012-13 and 2016-17, 1,08,75,061 units (38,06,271 liters) of blood was collected by blood banks across IndiaUpdated: Jul 12, 2017 00:30 IST
In the past five years, hospitals forced more than 10 million Indians to donate blood to compensate for transfusions given to their relatives.
Data from National AIDS Control Society (NACO) revealed that the practice of blood replacement — asked to be phased out due to quality concerns and monetary exploitation of patient and their relatives — helped hospitals across India collect over more than 38 lakh liters of blood.
Responding to a Right To Information (RTI) query, NACO officials said that between 2012-13 and 2016-17, a total of 1,08,75,061 units (38,06,271 liters) of blood was collected by blood banks across India.
Chetan Kothari, who had filed the RTI query, said the problem areas are safety and monetary exploitation of donors.
“When relatives are forced to donate blood, there are chances that they will lie about their medical condition, which hampers the blood quality. Also, replacement blood is the highest source of contaminated blood in the country,” said Kothari.
He added that hospital authorities, both private and government, exhibit lethargic attitude towards holding blood donation camps.
“There have been instances when patient’s kin are asked to buy blood units because of non-availability and were later asked to replace the blood used for the patients. The guidelines for this were framed 10 years ago, owing to which hospitals are struggling today,” said Kothari.
As per National Blood Policy, the practice of replacement blood donors is to be phased out to achieve 100% voluntary non-remunerable blood donation programme.
Talking to HT, Dr Shobhini Rajan, NACO assistant director, said, “In April, we released a notification, allowing all private and trust run hospitals in the country to conduct blood donation camps so that they can maintain adequate blood for their patients. It’s true that the practice of blood replacement is against the norms, but we can’t expect the situation to change overnight.”
She added that increasing number of patients, who depend on treatment provided by government medical colleges in the country, is the major cause of blood banks asking patients’ kin to donate blood.
“We are trying to fill the vacant posts, increase blood donation drives and reduce dependency on blood replacement so that 100% voluntary blood donation can be achieved. It will take time. For now, all NACO supported blood banks are collecting 60-70% of their requirement through voluntary blood donations,” Rajan said.