Irregular operation of blood banks in Kerala is placing lives on line

Blood banks in Kerala face shortages and endanger lives due to limited operation hours, especially on Sundays and holidays, with only 20% open.
Irregular operation of blood banks in Kerala is placing lives on line

KOCHI : Blood banks are meant to operate as emergency services. However, in stark contrast to their intended purpose, many of these critical facilities function in an unreasonable – even, unscientific – manner: endangering the lives of people by remaining closed on Sundays and holidays. According to the All Kerala Blood Donors Association (AKBDA), only around 20-25 blood banks in the state function on holidays.

“There are currently 180 blood banks – run by NGOs, the government, and private hospitals – in the state. But only 20% of these function on holidays and Sundays. It becomes a do-or-die situation for many patients as on these days those that are open run out of stock quickly. The unscientific operation of blood banks is putting lives of people at risk,” said P M Jaffar, founder and general secretary, AKBDA. He said blood and blood-product transfusions save millions of lives every year, and every minute someone, somewhere, needs blood. “Regular donations are required to ensure regular supply for those in need. But this becomes inconsequential if most blood banks don’t function on Sundays and holidays. Even the work timings of most blood banks call into question their efficiency, with most of them downing shutters by 3pm,” he added.

Blood banks face a dearth of blood due to their unscientific operations. “A person looking to donate blood must take leave from work to do so. The situation is similar for college students who have to drop classes to do so,” he said. AKBDA approached chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging him to take steps to extend the timings of blood banks from 9am to 7pm. “We expect a favourable move soon,” Jaffar added.

Former IMA Kochi president and secretary of IMA blood bank Junaid Rahman said many blood banks function even on holidays. “This should become an industry-wide practice. It is the need of the hour,” he stressed.

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