Doctors seek kit to detect viruses in window period

Kathmandu, April 30

In the third general convention of Nepal Voluntary Blood Donors’ Society held in the capital today, doctors and medical practitioners raised concern about blood-borne infections and have demanded that the authorities concerned make available necessary equipment to test blood during the window period.

“We lack the equipment to detect viruses during the window period. The bodies concerned should make available equipment to detect viruses in theearly stages. The unavailability of test kit increases the risk of transmission of the HIV and Hepatitis C infection,” said Dr Bhagwan Koirala, senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon.

The country lacks the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test that can detect HIV/HCV (Hepatitis C) in blood during the window period.

Medical practitioners also requested proper management of blood supply system in the country. “There often is a scarcity of blood despite more than two lakh pints of blood being donated each year. Blood donation camps must be regularly conducted and proper storage units should be in place to minimise wastage to meet the demand for blood,” said Dr Koirala.

Medical experts called on the public to get their blood tested before getting married as people are carriers of various diseases such as thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia. “Four per cent of people are carriers of thalassemia — blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin. If one of the carriers gets married with another carrier, there are high chances for their child being born with the thalassemia disease,” said Dr Durga Pathak, president of Nepal Thalassemia Society.

The doctors envisioned 24-hour blood banking. “Patients may need blood components any time. And therefore, proper system for blood and blood components supply must be in place,” said Dr Koirala.

Blood is inevitable to save people’s lives. People need blood on many occasions, such as during surgery, injury, disease and bleeding disorders. Blood donors are the only source of blood for patients.

According to Nepal Red Cross Society, it collected 236,799 pints of blood through blood donation camps and distributed blood and blood components to 337,321 patients in fiscal 2016-17.