Report card: Only 6% women among blood donors in Chandigarh
Among women, anaemia was the major reason, and in men it was mainly for medical and surgical reasons.Updated: Jan 18, 2018, 10:00 IST
Of the volunteers who came forward to donate the vital fluid at the city’s four blood banks in the last fiscal, only 6% were women. The figures available and experts point to chronic anaemia among women as the major reason behind the low numbers.
City-based Right to Information (RTI) activist RK Garg has collected the data between April 2016 and March 2017.
It reveals that 94,657 voluntary donations took place at the four blood banks — Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector 12; Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32; Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16; and Rotary and Blood Bank Society and Resource Centre, Sector 37.
Out of these, only 5,832 donors were women.
According to the fourth National Family Health Survey, 76% Chandigarh women aged between 15 and 49 years were anaemic as compared to 19% men.
Anaemia main reason
The blood banks also deferred 16,332 donors, which means the volunteers were not eligible to donate blood according to the criteria laid down by the National Blood Transfusion Council of National AIDS Control Organisation.
Among women, anaemia was the major reason, and in men it was mainly for medical and surgical reasons.
Anaemia is a medical condition where a person doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. Fatigue, weakness, pale and yellowish skin, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, headache, cold hands and feet are some of its symptoms.
According to the fourth National Family Health Survey, 76% Chandigarh women aged between 15 and 49 years were anaemic as compared to 19% men. In comparison to 2,500 women, only 100 men volunteers were deferred because of anaemia (haemoglobin level less than 12.5) at the four blood banks.
Around 600 women were found underweight (below 45kg) while 1,000 had other medical or surgical reasons. “Anaemia among women is one the main reasons for their low numbers. Also, when women are menstruating, we do not take their blood,” said Dr Vanita Gupta, director, State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh.
They are hesitant too
Dr Vanita Gupta said women are also hesitant when it comes to donating blood, except at girls’ colleges.
“Other causes also need to be studied,” said a PGIMER doctor from the blood transfusion department, who did not wish to be named. “One of the reasons could be that mobile vans for voluntary blood donation are mostly located in market areas, where mostly men are present.”
RK Garg, who filed the RTI, said: “It is surprising to know that in a city like Chandigarh women are not coming forward to donate blood. They must contribute to the noble cause.” Garg also said that it is the duty of society and administration to ensure nutritious diet to all the girls.