THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state is reeling under the second wave of Covid, people are turning up in good numbers to donate blood, notwithstanding the lockdown restrictions and fear of catching the disease, infusing much hope in the voluntary blood donation sector.
As another World Blood Donor Day passes by, people responding positively during the pandemic is reassuring, said Dr Mayadevi S, professor and head of Transfusion Medicine, Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. “Because of Covid, we were worried that we would face a scarcity in our blood bank. But our fears were unfounded and we could manage without any issues as many voluntary blood donor organisations mobilised donors. There is a good rush of voluntary blood donors,” said Dr Mayadevi. In-house camps are being organised daily on the campus.
During the pandemic, the need for blood has reduced with elective surgeries getting postponed. “The medical college is now more like a Covid hospital and our blood requirement has reduced. Now, the donation stands at around 70 units per day, of which 90 per cent is voluntary. The number of replacement donors is less. This is a positive side of Covid that we are witnessing and we hope that the trend continues after Covid as well. What we need is continuous regular blood donation like this,” she added.
Dr Meena D, state nodal officer for blood transfusion services, says blood banks are able to manage due to a decrease in the demand for blood and continued efforts by the voluntary blood donor organisations.
With elective surgeries getting postponed, the blood requirement is now limited to emergency cases such as trauma cases, cesarean deliveries, chemotherapy and dialysis.
“The ideal situation is when the blood donation is 100% voluntary. With Covid, we don’t have outreach camps and yet we are able to manage with in-house camps. Last year, during the lockdown, due to the strict travel restrictions, donor mobility was affected. This year, however, we haven’t faced any such issues,” says Dr Meena.
Dr V Govindan Kutty, director of IMA Blood Bank, Thrissur, says the pandemic hasn’t affected voluntary blood donation and that it depends on how you promote blood donation. “Ever since the lockdown, we have been sending vehicles to pick up the donors ,” says Dr Govindan Kutty. At the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, the pandemic has thrown up a different trend.
“Earlier, we had 100% voluntary blood donation, now 70% are replacement donations. Due to the pandemic, we are facing such a scenario as most donors are apprehensive of visiting hospitals to donate blood,” said Dr Amita Radhakrishnan Nair, assistant professor, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute.