50% of wards in Mumbai do not have blood banks, BMC budget has plans for none
Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query, civic body officials revealed that out of the 24, only 12 civic wards have a government-run blood bank.mumbai Updated: Apr 09, 2017 00:07 IST
In a direct violation of a Bombay high court order to make blood banks available in every ward of the city, 50% of the wards are yet to have a blood bank. Moreover, the 2017-18 budget — recently announced by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — does not have any new blood banks on the cards.
Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query, civic body officials revealed that out of the 24, only 12 civic wards have a civic, government-run blood bank. On September 27, 2016, hearing a petition seeking increase in food testing labs in the city, a division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Swapna Joshi had asked the officials to furnish the details on number of blood banks in the city, stressing on the need to ensure safety regulations to avoid contamination of blood.
Chetan Kothari, who had filed the RTI to seek information, said that while the city has 54 blood banks, only 18 are run by state government, most of which are attached to periphery of tertiary care hospitals.
“It’s a direct violation of HC’s order because BMC was asked to ensure that every ward has a blood bank. The BMC included the issue in the recent budget but recently a number of blood banks run by BMC have been shut down due to non-availability of staff,” said Kothari.
Many of the wards like R south, P north, H west G north that are considered to be heavily populated and record a high number of medical emergencies do not have a single BMC or government-run blood bank in that area.
Moreover, out of the 18 blood banks, five are already suffering from staff shortage as they have employed two or less blood transfusion officers to handle the operations. According to the norms set by Food and Drugs Administration Maharashtra, the blood banks need to have at least three BTOs working in three shifts to enable 24X7 functioning.
A senior FDA official, on the condition of anonymity said that they avoid initiating direct action against the blood banks, considering the larger public interest. “A number of violations like shortage of technical staff and equipment are in fact reported in these blood banks but if we shut down blood banks, it is the public who will suffer,” said the official.