BHAWANIPATNA: On February 7, when anaemic Drona Durga of Rankabahal village was admitted to Dharamgarh Sub Divisional Hospital, he required blood transfusion. The doctor gave his wife Kuntala a requisition slip to collect blood from the hospital blood bank. She, however, could not get it from the blood bank and had to a pay Rs 3000 to a Dalal (middleman) to buy blood for her husband.
The matter came to the notice of Collector and he ordered an inquiry, leading to the arrest of three middlemen Pratap Bagarti, Ambu Prasad Naik and Laxman Naik along with professional blood donors Utam Das and Krushna Naik, and two laboratory technicians of the blood bank Prakash Kumar Nanda and Ramesh Nag on Wednesday. But voluntary blood donors say this is just the tip of the iceberg and illegal sale of blood has been continuing unabated in the hospital.
Middlemen take advantage of the gap between demand and supply of blood and exploit poor patients who come to the hospital from rural pockets of the district. While the collection of blood through voluntary blood donation is grossly inadequate, the number of patients needing blood transfusion reaching the hospital has been rising every day. Governing body member of the Dharamgarh blood bank, Hrushikesh Mishra poor patients who are not aware of contacting voluntary blood donors fall prey to middlemen and professional habitual donors who exploit them.
Kalahandi has two blood banks at District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) and Dharamgarh Hospital. While the one at DHH has a storage capacity of 800 units, the Dharamgarh blood bank can store 400 units. The district requires an average of 14,000 units of blood per annum but voluntary blood donations generate just 5000 units annually. Although blood is provided free of cost to needy patients, they are asked to exchange blood due to a shortage in the blood bank.
“Under these circumstances, dalals and habitual donors fleece people by charging heavy amount and poor people become their easy prey due to their urgent requirement”, said Mishra. To weed out the involvement of dalals and stop the illegal practice, the police is taking a number of measures under the Mo Sarkar initiative from September last year, said Kalahandi SP B Gangadhar. Special squads have been formed to arrest middlemen in both the hospitals and the SP and Collector are making surprise visits to the hospitals regularly.