As India marches towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030 through initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, National Health Policy and the National Digital Health Mission, it is imperative that providing safe and adequate blood becomes an integral part of India’s national health care policy and infrastructure. And Blood donation is an essential component of health care which saves millions of lives each year. Globally , in a given year 19% of donors occasionally donate, 31% are first time donors and 50% are regular. If only 2 % of all Indians would give blood , blood shortage would disappear for the foreseeable future
Coinciding with the World Blood Donor Day, CII organized a Panel Discussion on, "Enablers and Barriers to Safe Blood Donation- during Covid and Beyond” on 14 June 2021 in partnership with Thalassemia Patient Group & Roche .
Dr. Sunil Gupta Additional DG, Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that blood donation faced lot of challenges during the pandemic. Various steps have been taken by the government to alleviate the challenges such as Inter-Ministerial Co-ordination between MoHFW and MHA for ensuring unhindered movement of blood donors and blood mobile and transportation vans. States were asked to enhance IEC activities and leverage the social media platforms to educate people about voluntary blood donation. There is also a proposal in place to put new NBTC standards and also revise HIV and TTIs markers. He also mentioned that now individuals after taking any Covid19 vaccine dose can donate blood after a period of only 14 days
Dr Hilde De Graeve Team Leader Health Systems WHO Country Office for India shed light on the best practices of blood donation from around the world. She said that globally 83% blood donors are voluntary and 0.4% are paid donation. In the South East Asian Region there has been an increase of 73% of voluntary blood donation over the last 5 years. Doing well in blood donation is dependent on several factors such as zero acceptance of paid or replacement donation, strong legislation, regulation and punitive measures, general awareness, focus on reducing wastage, rigorous and standard SoPs and guidelines for all hospitals and blood banks, increase in investment of attracting new donors and invest in systems for blood donation services. Goal for India should be to achieve 100% voluntary, non-remunerative blood donation.
Mr Narendra Varde Managing Director India & Neighbouring Markets Roche Diagnostics India Private Limited spoke on the technology used in blood transfusion in India. He said that serology test is mandated but what type of serology test, that is not mandated. There are a number of tests such as RAPID, ELISA, CLIA which are mandatory. Government has done lot to incentivise the use of these tests. There are a lot of private entities that are using CLIA and moving to NAT but in Government is currently only using RAPID and ELISA and use of NAT is very low. 10% blood donation is done using NAT when countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have made it mandatory. It is time that India also made NAT testing mandatory. Instead of looking at a centralised way of blood donation and screening then all states can be given across the states
Ms Anubha Taneja Member Secretary Thalassemia Patients Advocacy Group (TPAG) brought to fore the role of patient organisations in blood donation. She said that patient bodies are direct recipients of blood make policy making more inclusive and collaborative. Charter of Patients’ Rights issued by the MoHFW lays down the vision for involvement of patient bodies in policy making and is a global practice too. Going forward there is a need to do media campaigns to carry out awareness about safe blood practices like voluntary blood donation, screening methodologies etc.
Mr Deepak Chopra President Thalassemics India added to this and said that voluntary blood donation is not talked about in the society. Each corporate entity should conduct blood donation camps. Currently for safe blood there is no mandatory guideline by Government under policy
Dr. Sangeeta Pathak Head and Senior Consultant Transfusion Services Max Super Speciality Hospital said that automation in blood bank can enhance safety in blood transfusion and allow significant flow of work and efficiency. There is a need to use blood bank software that helps in the automation of blood transfusion services.
Dr Tulika Chandra Head of Department- Transfusion Medicine King George's Medical University, Lucknow spoke about the state blood transfusion landscape in Uttar Pradesh. She said that KGMU has state of the art model blood bank with an annual collection of 86,000 units and has training center for blood banks in UP. KGMU also has the first blood bank in the state NAT facility and has the latest technology available in the world for testing for TTIs. NAT has changed the parameter of safe blood and since 2013 4,24,340 units of blood has been collected. Voluntary Blood Donation which was hardly 2% in 1998 progressed to 5% in 2004 and 70% as on date. For future there are plans to establish the first public stem cell bank in the country
Dr Gaurav Kharya Clinical Lead I Center for Bone Marrow Transplant I Sr Consultant I Pediatric Hemato-oncology Apollo Indraprastha Hospital spoke on donor safety and stressed on the importance of repetitive blood donors. Steps that can be taken to ensure safety of donors and patients include minimise blood products by increasing thresholds, educate patients before any procedure, carry out counselling about need for various blood products, limit number of donors by repeating the donor for subsequent procedures. He also stressed on the need for creating awareness through social media
The pandemic has shown that it requires coordination from every level right from the top government officials to the common general public who are potential donors. Blood transfusion services in India should have better strategical plan to respond to challenges generated during a pandemic which focuses on shortage, wastage and supply of blood and components in cost-effective manners.There is a huge need for more government support, financially, structurally, and through establishment of a regulatory oversight to ensure supply, quality, and safety.
15 June 2021