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India Discards 1Mn Units of Blood in 2017: Wasteful or Inevitable?

India’s annual requirement of blood is about 13 million units, while it manages to collect only about 10 million.

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Health News
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India Discards 1Mn Units of Blood in 2017: Wasteful or Inevitable?
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Over a million units of blood are discarded in India every year, according to Health Ministry data, reported The Times of India. This happens primarily because of poor storage facilities in the country, the report adds.

India’s annual requirement of blood is about 13 million units, while the country manages to collect about 10 million. The report cites the scenario to point out how the discarding is further adding to India’s blood shortage woes.

Some experts, however, disagree. Speaking with FIT, Dr RN Makroo, President of India Society of Transfusion Medicine, emphasises that WHO recommends that 1 percent of the population could participate in regular, repeated and voluntary blood donations.

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In India, which has a population of over 1.3 billion, if only 5 million people could become voluntary and regular donors, the shortage would be taken care of, adds Dr Makroo.

Commenting further on the issue of storage, he says:

All storage facilities are in place, there’s nothing wrong with them. There is wastage of blood worldwide, it’s not specific to India.

In Canada it’s 7.6 to 9.3 percent, in Australia it is 5.7 percent, in India it’s again between 5-6 percent, points out Dr Makroo. The issues to be considered instead include blood safety during transfusion.

There are about 2900 blood banks all over the country. We are also a country with a huge population which means the numbers put over a period of time will be staggering. We need to change the mindset of people and concentrate instead on issues like blood safety during transfusion.
DR RN Makroo

According to data from the World Health Organisation:

Voluntary, unpaid blood donations have risen by 10.7 million in the period between 2008 to 2013. A total of 57 countries collect 100 percent of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.

According to the National AIDS Control Organisation, voluntary blood donations have increased from 54.4 percent in 2006 to 84 percent in 2013-14.

An average healthy person can donate four times a year, once every three months. One unit of donated blood can save up to three lives.

(Subscribe to FIT on Telegram)

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