A 24-year-old pregnant woman from a village in Kharga in Rampur in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh started bleeding in the eighth month and was referred to Kamla Nehru state Mother and Child Hospital, two days back.
She was in dire need of the O negative blood group and her attendants were asked to arrange it on their own.
They underwent a lot of hassle until they got in touch with some local activists, through some links, who called up frantically to mobilise donors for the rare blood group.
A few days ago, the wife of a patient, who was operated for injury in the large intestine, was refused plasma (component of blood) at premier Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) hospital and she had to run from pillar to post to get it from the same blood bank, through some influential links.
These are not the isolated examples of poor blood banking in HP.
As a routine, the attendants of critical patients, who are in distress, are asked to run for blood, as the hospital blood banks cry of shortage and don’t take the responsibility to provide blood to patients.
The small state is otherwise high on voluntary blood donation at 86 per cent, it has no donor retention programme.
The blood distribution in 17 blood banks across the state is not streamlined to suit the needs of patients and a majority of them don’t work 24X7 for an emergency like blood. The state had introduced an on-line blood banking system a couple of years ago, which failed to work.
Mostly, the blood banks don’t have proper staff and infrastructure and those which have adequate facilities don’t have a patient friendly attitude.
Majority patients transfuse wholesome blood, despite blood separator machines in some hospitals, including IGMC, despite the fact that separation can increase availability of blood.
“The patients should not be asked to meet the gap in demand and availability of blood. Although Himachal is untouched by the phenomenon, the trend of selling of blood is very much there in other states.
If the patient does not have a donor, he would arrange it from somewhere, compromising blood safety,” said Ajai Srivastava, a regular blood donor and Vice President of Federation of Indian Blood Donors Organisations.
He said the blood donation should be totally voluntary, non-remunerative and it should be the responsibility of the hospital to provide blood free to patient, to ensure blood safety.
The Federation recently met the Union Health Minister, Jagat Prakash Nadda and advocated to set up National Blood Transfusion Authority and State Blood Transfusion Authority across the country to evaluate implementation of the national blood programme.
The Federation asked for a national policy and guideline on clinical use of blood, the end of the replacement blood donation and abolishing of blood credit card system and 24X7 on-line blood baking to make the system transparent.