The Central Blood Transfusion Service of Nepal Red Cross Society collected 242,048 units and provided patients with 331,456 units of blood and blood components last fiscal.

The blood deficit stood at 89,408 units. This shows there is still a gap between demand and supply of blood. The four main blood components include plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Blood collection in 2020- 21 slightly increased compared to the previous fiscal.

According to figures released by NRCS, it collected 242,048 units of blood in 2020-21 against 238,836 units in 2019- 20, up by 1.3 per cent.

Various agencies, clubs, youth groups, student unions, trade unions, professionals, health workers, security bodies, political parties and their sister organisations, general blood donors, educational institutions, banks and financial institutions, cooperative organisations and regular individual donors are cooperating with NRCS in collecting blood by organising blood donation camps across the country, mainly in Kathmandu valley.

When blood transfusion service was launched 55 years ago, NRCS had collected 157 pints of blood. Nearly onefourth of the blood is collected in the valley. Despite continuous increase in the volume of blood collection, it is not sufficient to meet the demand of blood and blood components.

According to NRCS, voluntary blood donation rates are not usually high in the South Asian region, but Nepal is a notable exception. In fact, the nation has more than 500 blood donor groups. It estimates that blood donation by two per cent of the population can meet a nation's most basic requirement for blood.

In addition to Kathmandu-based Central Blood Transfusion Service, NRCS has been operating Provincial Blood Transfusion Service in Biratnagar, Bharatpur, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi.

Similarly, there are 22 district-level Blood Transfusion Services, and emergency blood transfusion service is provided from 41 places of various districts. As many as 49 hospitals have made the service available.

Blood transfusion service centres and units are active in 117 places of 70 districts, said NRCS. Strategies of blood service have motivated people to donate blood and also enhanced awareness about blood donation by organising blood collection camps, processing, testing and supplying blood and blood products as per the needs of patients.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 13 2021, of The Himalayan Times.