Blood tests for suspected Thalassemia patients have come to a halt at the Balurghat hospital, thanks to the machine, ‘Bio-Rad,’ which is used in such tests, that is out of order since 6 February.

According to the hospital authorities, engineers from Kolkata have made multiple attempts to fix the machine, but in vain. The Balurghat hospital in South Dinajpur district is the only hospital that has a separate Thalassemia treatment unit.

Patients suffering from any type of suspected blood diseases are referred to the Thalassemia unit at Balurghat hospital for further tests. According to records at the hospital, 30 to 40 new patients are treated free of cost every day at the hospital.

However, since 6 February, the machine has stopped working and the process of blood tests and detection has come to a halt. “Treatment facility for Thalassemia patients comes free of cost. A large number of patients from the rural areas as well as from the town areas avail of the treatment at Balurghat hospital. There are 600 Thalassemia patients in the district and on an average 5 to 10 units of blood are usually transplanted to the patients’ every day,” a hospital staff said. “Indoor treatment services like counseling, blood transplant and treatment is going on normally,” said a hospital staff.

“For the past one month, I am trying to test my blood at Balurghat hospital. The hospital authority said that the service has stopped. We are financially weak and conducting a blood test at a private pathology centre is not possible for me. I can wait for the next few days as I have no option than to conduct the test at a government hospital,” said one patient, Banamali Barman, of Chinggishpur village.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, South Dinajpur, Sukumar Dey said, “The district hospital authority has informed me about the problem. We have already informed the machine’s company about the issue. Their engineers have visited the hospital and have tried to fix the machine but they failed. A new team will be visiting the hospital within the next week. We hope that the problem will be solved soon.”