THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With fingers being pointed at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) over the alleged unsafe blood transfusion practice it is following, the centre on Wednesday has broken its silence. While dismissing reports regarding the laxity from the part of RCC in incidents in which two children contracted HIV due to transfusion of contaminated blood, RCC director Paul Sebastian alleged in a statement a witch-hunting was going against the centre.
“A malicious campaign is there against the RCC. It has been reiterated many times by the RCC and those agencies who looked into the issue that it is impossible to determine the infection if the donor is in his/her window period,” said Paul.
“At present, RCC is following all those procedures being laid out by WHO and NACO regarding blood screening. With the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAT) emerging as the safest form of blood testing as it could even detect window period infections, RCC has begun the process to adopt the same,” he said.
At the same time, the director said that even if the NAT facility is introduced in RCC, the window period can only be reduced from the current three months to 15 days.
And this makes it clear that even the NAT facility is not even hundred per cent accurate. “To prevent the same, RCC is taking utmost caution while selecting donors. They are also provided with counselling programmes. In the backdrop of some recent incidents, we will be more vigilant to prevent such incidents from happening again,” said Paul. At the same time, the RCC director said there might be some ‘minor incautiousness’ from its part as it has to handle a large volume of patients on a daily basis and claims once such instances are brought to its notice it initiates the rectification measures also.
“We are a government institution. Thus, while introducing a new programme or facility there might be some procedural delay as we will have to follow the rules and procedures. There is no point in pinpointing such delay and lambasting it,” he said.
Earlier, the RCC director had said the heavy inflow of patients coupled with space cons-traints and lack of manpower was taking a toll on the centre. According to him, if the two other cancer care centres - Malabar Cancer Center in Kannur and Cochin Cancer Research Centre - are raised to the standard of RCC, it could ease the workload.