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West Bengal blood banks run dry due to lockdown

The nationwide lockdown has forced blood donation camps, which provide blood to more than 108 banks in the state, to shut down due to the pandemic.

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Kolkata: With various political parties, community clubs and NGOs having to stop organising blood donation camps due to the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, blood banks in West Bengal are facing an acute shortage of supply, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 80 per cent of blood supply to 108 blood banks in the state, including 74 state run-facilities, are sourced from such camps, an official of Central Blood Bank said.

“The blood banks are facing a severe shortage of supply. Just imagine the condition of thalassemia patients and others who need a regular transfusion of blood. It is a very difficult situation,” Bratish Niyogi, managing director of People’s Blood Bank told PTI.

During summers, blood collection dips by nearly 40 per cent but the situation has worsened due to the coronavirus outbreak, Niyogi said.

“If someone needs blood of a specific type, he or she has to find a donor himself or herself as community clubs and the youth wings of political parties have stopped organising blood donation camps due to the lockdown,” he said.

The shortage of blood supply has also affected surgeries.

“Major surgeries that can be postponed have been advised to do so to keep the requirement of blood in check for the time being. The state needs an average of 1 lakh units of blood every month,” A Ganguly, director of Lifeline Blood Bank said.

D Ashish, secretary of NGO Medical Bank, which has been involved in blood donation campaigns for over 40 years, said the situation is worse in the districts.

When contacted, Health Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said the state government is keeping a close watch on the situation and has come out with new guidelines regarding blood collection following the coronavirus outbreak.

Also read: Coronavirus pandemic is ominous news for India’s rabi crops and farm-to-food chain


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