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Experts see importance of voluntary blood donation to offset shortage of 70-75% blood reserves
Our Bureau, Bengaluru - Monday, June 18, 2018, 16:10 Hrs  [IST]
Blood donors across the country highlighted importance of voluntary blood donation to offset shortage of 70-75 per cent blood reserves.

India faces severe shortage of blood reserves to the tune of 70-75 per cent. The shortage can be tackled if additional 2 per cent of the current population starts donating blood voluntarily.

The regular voluntary blood donor is critical to the success of a blood transfusion service. Blood transfusions are critical for patients undergoing surgery or being treated for some chronic diseases. Adhering to a strong quality system encompassing the whole blood supply chain, preservation, component separation and finally transfusion is the need of the hour, stated C Padmakumar, managing director Terumo Penpol.

On a similar note, Dr Prathip Kumar B R, consultant & HoD blood bank, Narayana Health City, said that though sensitisation about voluntary blood donation in India has increased and has outpaced replacement blood donation, still, there is a long way to go. People are hesitant towards donating blood owing to fears of getting infected by needle transmitted diseases. But the current process is much more advanced, harmless and safe. Additionally, advantage of voluntary donation is that it less infectious as compared to replacement donations.
Dr. Kruti Dumaswala, consultant, transfusion medicine, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru, said “We would encourage everyone to take volunteer initiatives of donating blood for the ones in need. It is also essential to approach a certified blood donation camp to ensure use of sterile equipment, have the right storage facility and well trained healthcare professionals. In addition, such centres will ensure that there are no unethical practices that are commonly seen in the huge blood smuggling market in India.”
“Studies indicate that blood groups could be a major factor in predicting the health of a patient. Among all the blood groups, type O is predicted to be at less risk compared to A, B and AB blood types for heart disease. It is seen that people with blood type AB have a 23 per cent increased risk for heart disease; while type B has 11 per cent and type A 5 per cent increased risk. This could be because of the high blood clotting feature of these blood groups, especially type AB, compared to type O. Blood groups A, B and AB are also more prone to an increased level of hypertension and cholesterol. This is also assumed to be one of the reasons for making these blood types more vulnerable to heart diseases,” said Dr. Girish B Navasundi, senior consultant, interventional cardiology, Apollo Hospital.
According to Dr Prathima KM, head of laboratory medicine, Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru, the number of blood donors has been decreasing steadily due to negative perceptions such as that one may become weak physically or acquire a serious infection. Also, there is a general lack of interest among today’s youth, who traditionally comprise the bulk of blood donors, due to busy and stressful lifestyle. The government needs to organise public awareness programmes about the need to donate blood and how it helps in saving lives.

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