Coronavirus outbreak: Mumbai hospitals have blood enough only for 10 days

Updated: May 18, 2020, 07:30 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Banks told to hold small-scale donation camps to replenish stock

A blood donation camp at Mulund Gymkhana on Sunday
A blood donation camp at Mulund Gymkhana on Sunday

One of the many services interrupted amid the Coronavirus lockdown are the blood donation camps. With reduced supply, blood banks in the city are left with only 10 days worth of stock.

With the lockdown extended till May 31 and monsoon coming nearer, the State Blood Transfusion Council has written to blood banks in the city to conduct donation camps.

Dr Arun Thorat, who heads the State Blood Transfusion Council, wrote to all blood banks last week, asking them to organise small camps. "We have enough blood for the next eight to 10 days. While some blood banks have enough stock, others are facing a scarcity. Monsoon is near and there should not be a shortage. Hence, we have written to all blood banks to have donation camps as per their need," he said.

While fewer accidents and surgeries during the lockdown have reduced the demand for blood, there are patients of thalassemia and blood cancer among others who require regular blood transfusions. Dr C S Pramesh, director of Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), said that they faced a shortage of blood last week. "We had to do some re-appropriation of the services we provide to allow the blood bank some time to replenish their stock. Surgeries that didn't require blood were scheduled on Thursday and Friday while those that needed blood units were postponed and will be carried out this week," he said.

Dr Pramesh added that the hospital is carrying out blood donation camps on a small scale and is approaching housing societies. "Blood donation camps are carried out at two to three housing societies every week and around 50-100 donors come forward from each society. If there is excess supply, we share the blood with other banks," he said. Dr Pramesh said that TMH staff has conducted such camps at Vikhroli and Chembur.

One such camp was organised at Mulund on Sunday. The president of Mulund Gymkhana, Chetan Salvi, said, "There had been reports of a shortage of blood during these troubled times. We organised a drive jointly with the Tata Memorial Hospital on Sunday from 10 am till 4 pm and we followed all social distancing norms. A large number of people came and after health check-ups, we were able to gather 170 bottles of blood by the end of the day."

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