COVID-19: No donation drives, Mumbai hospitals to face severe blood shortage

Updated: 19 October, 2020 08:40 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Arun Thorat, assistant director of the state blood transfusion council, said their stock is enough to tide them over the next five to seven days instead of the 15-day average

Photo for representational purpose
Photo for representational purpose

With a reduction in the number of donation drives and increased wariness among potential donors during the pandemic, city hospitals are staring at an acute shortage of blood.

As per a report in Mumbai Mirror, Arun Thorat, assistant director of the state blood transfusion council, said their stock is enough to tide them over the next five to seven days instead of the 15-day average.

“The number of blood donation drives have dwindled due to COVID-19. Many people are not coming forward to participate in the drives. Earlier, there used to be 2,500 camps per month and now it is just 1,500 per month. The requirement had reduced in between as the number of surgeries had reduced and accidents were fewer during the lockdown. Now the demand is rising again,” Thorat said.

The assistant director added that the Home Department has directed Navratri mandals to organise blood donation camps. "The situation is grave. We used to get blood from college students, corporate-funded drives and National Service Scheme (NSS) events. We have requested colleges and the NSS to resume blood donation drives. The Food and Drug administration and State Blood Transfusion Council have also appealed for blood donations,” he said.

 Additional BMC Commissioner Suresh Kakani said blood donations had taken a hit during the lockdown. “The blood requirement had reduced by 30%. We have adequate blood for emergencies. We have told Navratri mandals to conduct blood donation drives while ensuring that they follow social distancing,” Kakani said.

 Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Nair Hospital, said that they require 15 to 20 bottles per day and had planned to organise two blood donation drives over the next week. Sion Hospital has scheduled three donations drives. Bharmal said that blood donors find it difficult to reach hospitals and are afraid of exposing themselves to the virus at civic hospitals. A blood bank manager said that they had collected only 20 bottles at a recently conducted blood donation camp in a public sector undertaking as people were unwilling to undergo the procedure.

 Joy Chakravarty, chief operating officer of Hinduja Hospital and a patron of Bengal Club said, “The Bengal club is organising a blood donation drive at Shivaji Park on Sunday as a part of Durga puja celebrations. Mumbai needs blood during this pandemic. We have at least 45 blood donors ready.”

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First Published: 19 October, 2020 08:04 IST

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