Nepal | July 11, 2020

Capital’s blood banks running on low reserves

Sabitri Dhakal
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  • All components out of stock
  • Blood donation campaigns need of the hour to end crisis

Kathmandu, May 24

With the rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the country and the looming fear of coronavirus spread, there has been a major decline in blood donation campaigns in the capital, leading to an acute shortage of blood.

Both the packed red blood cells and whole blood are in short supply. “Packed cells are necessary for cancer and kidney patients, but we have not been able to meet patients’ demand,” said Dibya Raj Poudel, head of communication at Nepal Red Cross Society.

“My brother had suffered a stroke. He needed four pints of blood. We have arranged only two pints till now,” said Ramkrishna Ghimire, a resident of Ravibhawan who is related to a patient undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kathmandu.

There is demand of 35 pints of blood daily in the Central Blood Transfusion Service, but it has been providing only 30 pints. It is also facing scarcity of blood components. “We need to have at least 250 pints of blood, along with blood components, in our stock. But we have neither. If the crisis lingers on, it will be difficult for
us to handle emergencies,” said Poudel.

Blood is necessary for cancer and kidney patients who are undergoing dialysis, in emergency surgeries, deliveries and in cardiac surgeries. Blood is also necessary for patients suffering from anaemia, leukemia and thalassemia.

Moreover, four of the eight blood components are in high demand. Patients may need plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets at any given time.

Nepal Red Cross Society has decided to conduct blood donation camps among security personnel to meet the demand, as most blood donation campaigns are being cancelled with the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, said Poudel.

Patients have been contacting blood donor organisations for blood. But they have not been able to get it in sufficient amount.

“Mass blood donation awareness campaign is necessary. Campaign should be conducted depending on the demand,” said Prem Sagar Karmacharya, central president of Nepal Voluntary Blood Donors’ Society who has donated blood 161 times.

With the country under lockdown, it has been difficult to conduct blood donation camps, resulting in blood shortage. To help patients, a door-to-door campaign was started by Blood Donors Association on March 28. “We have been contacting donors and requesting them for donation. It is high time private organisations also conduct blood donation camps to overcome the current crisis,” said Devendra Maharjan, president of Blood Donors’ Association, south-west area.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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