Bank staff donate 100 units of blood

December 31, 2010

Courtesy: timesofindia

A nationalized bank with a branch in the city organized a blood donation camp at its office in Sarabha Nagar where its employees donated 100 units to mark 100th foundation day on Tuesday. The employees also donated one-day salary to the Prime Ministers Relief Fund.

The camp was organized in association with an NGO ‘Salaam Zindagi Foundation’ working for thalassemic children in the city. The NGO has sponsored 61 such children and vows to support all the needy children with the disorder. Established by Sir Sorabji Pochkhanawala on December 21, 1911, Central Bank of India celebrated its 100th foundation day on December 21. All the staff members of the Ludhiana region paid obeisance to the founder.

President Kamal Khullar and Sarabha Nagar Traders Association general secretary Davinder Singh appreciated banks efforts and declared to hold a mega blood donation camp in the coming month so that maximum patients of thalassemia could the supported with blood.

Salaam Zindagi Foundation general secretary Anurag Kalhan thanked members and office-bearers of bank union who made all efforts and motivated the members.

The blood bank teams of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Deep Nursing Home were also present.


Most Hyderabad blood banks not safe

June 18, 2010

Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

HYDERABAD: The next time somebody from your family requires blood transfusion, cross your heart. The chances are that the blood procured from a blood bank will not be free of viruses that can cause deadly infections. “It’s a bloody mess at the state’s blood banks and only a few well-known names are free of problems,” said a source familiar with the state of affairs. “Many unsuspecting patients contract deadly disease like HIV and Hepatitis B and C because of blood transfusions,” he added.

The worst hit are those who need blood routinely, such as children suffering from thalassemia. In the last four years as many as eight thalassemic children contracted HIV and Hepatitis C & B infections during the course of blood transfusion. Rajesh Popli, secretary, Society for Thalassemics, says that at least five thalassemic children tested positive for HIV in the last two years alone. “As per our information, these children are from Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Nizamabad, Medak and Krishna,” said Popli.

That the stock of blood in many banks is suspect is corroborated by the government itself. The Drug Control Administration’s recent state-wide survey of 219 blood banks found that just about a handful of them met the quality standards. The lapses included non-functioning air conditioners and the use of “rapid testing techniques” by most banks (to reduce the cost of screening) which could miss detecting these fatal infections.

“We found that around five blood banks of the total 219 were following the quality standards,” said a DCA top official, adding that notices were being issued to the erring banks to beef up their standards. And that’s all in the form of punishment for these banks!

As per norms, blood should be screened for communicable diseases including HIV I & II, Hepatitis C & B, malarial parasite and Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test. “The problems are cropping up because of the absence of technically qualified persons. Pathologists are mandatory but many are unwilling to work in blood banks. Besides, blood screening costs are high,” said Dr V Saraswati, who is with NTR Blood Bank, which doctors say complies with most standards (along with Chiranjeevi Blood Bank). Some blood banks, as per the DCA survey, were even found lacking equipment.

While pathologists are meant to declare blood ‘safe’ for use, they prefer working with hospitals over blood banks. The banks are also wary of hiring them because of the high salaries they demand. Focused on cutting cost of screening processes, blood banks flourish thanks to an indifferent government. Worse, the government shies away from introducing tests that could help such as the PCR test which can detect infections even during the window period (the period from the time of contracting infection to testing positive for it). “The PCR test charges range between Rs 2,000 to 3,000 per test and it is not feasible to do this test on lakhs of units,” said an official from AP State Aids Control Society.


Thalassemia Society to start blood bank today

March 23, 2010

Courtesy by: expressbuzz.com

HYDERABAD: The Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Society, a non-profit group that seeks to provide relief to the tens of thousands of children afflicted with the diseases annually, will inaugurate a blood bank at Chatta Bazar here on March 20.

Thalassemia and sickle cell are inherited blood disorders that affect haemoglobin production. More than 40,000 new victims are diagnosed yearly. The diseases require frequent blood transfusion, often once in a fortnight, for the patients to live. This requires children with the disorders to receive dozens of blood transfusions before their third birthday.

At a press conference here today, parents of afflicted children explained the stresses under which they had to operate.

“We feel like no one will help. We constantly have to worry about where the next transfusion will come from,’’ said a parent. To mitigate these concerns, the Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Society aims to bring several operations, including diagnosis, transfusion and storage of blood under their new facility. It also seeks to pair patients with regular donors to reduce the chances of bloodborne infections. Any person can adopt a thalassemia child and become what they call `blood brothers’.

The new blood bank’s location was stragetically chosen to cater to Hyderabad’s most disadvantaged children. Most of Hyderabad’s blood banks are situated in the new city, and very few are south of the Musi.


H1N1 scare: Blood banks face shortage

September 1, 2009

Courtesy by: timesofindia

PUNE: As the city’s continues to grapple with the H1N1 flu situation, blood banks in the city have reported acute shortage of blood. If the
situation remains the same for the next two days, there will be complete dry up’ at all the 22 blood banks in the city, as the total amount of blood currently available with all these banks is not more than 200 units.

“There is nearly dry up’ condition at the blood banks in the city right now. If the situation persists for another two days, there will be complete dry up all over,” said Ram Bangad, who runs the trust Raktache Nate,’ which has a donor base of 7,000 people.

Sharing the view, Vandana Vasave, blood transfusion officer at the blood bank of the Sassoon general hospital, said, “We are also facing the pressure of the shortage of blood. As the district collector has banned all types of overcrowding, we could not organise blood donation camps. Currently, we have just 28 units of blood with us. We meet the needs now through our medical students who come and donate blood whenever there is a need.”

As per government orders, public gatherings of any kind has been given a rest for few days with the H1N1 outbreak in city which led to the cancellation of several blood donation camps. Independence day camps by all major blood banks have proved highly successful over the years. However, this year, all blood banks had either cancelled or postponed such camps on August 15, said Dilip Wani, national president, Jankalyan chain of blood banks in India.

“A blood bank on any given day, under usual circumstances, has more than 100 units of blood available. But now, a blood bank has just 20 to 30 units at their disposal,” said Bangad. The blood bank at Sassoon, which used to have 400 units at any point of time, has now just 30 units, he said.

Sanjeev Ketkar, pathologist and blood transfusion officer, Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital blood bank, added, “We have just 27 units of blood available at our blood bank. We should be allowed to hold blood donation camps now. Otherwise, we are going to exhaust all our stock.” He added that voluntary donors have been visiting the hospital on their own, but the amount thus collected is not adequate.

He said the hospital is making sure that they screen even those small number of people who donate blood for the H1N1 virus. “You will not contract the H1N1 flu just because you donate blood,” he said. We call several donors from our database but none of them are willing to come because they fear they will contract the H1N1 virus, he added.

“If the present situation prevails for the next few days, things will go out of hand. There are some operations that can be pushed forward, but caesarean operations, treatment for trauma patients cannot be delayed. Moreover, dengue cases are also rising in the city. These patients also require blood platelets as well,” said Dilip Sarda, president of the city unit of Indian Medical Association.

The annual average blood requirement of the city is 1.5 lakh units approximately. Of this, 40 per cent is contributed by students. Besides this, the rest is contributed by workers from the organised sector (25 per cent), political outfits (10 per cent) and the remaining 25 per cent is taken care of by social, voluntary and religious organisations, said Wani.

This shortfall is causing serious problems for Thalassemia patients and those who are suffering from blood cancer as well, who need constant transfusion, Wani added.


Cord blood bank to be set up in Ahmedabad

August 17, 2009

Courtesy by: indianexpress.com

A new collaboration between StemCyte Inc. of the US and Apollo Hospital Enterprises Ltd. now promises to bring about a revolution in the treatment about 70 diseases by introducing the ‘plasma depletion’ technology in India.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies was signed at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the collaboration has resulted into StemCyte India Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd. This cord blood bank will be located in Ahmedabad and will have the patented technique of processing and storage of StemCyte Inc., announced the officials of the StemCyte on Thursday.

The technology of collecting high volume of stem cells called ‘plasma depletion’ which helps in successful therapeutic applications of umbilical cord stem cells can be used in the treatment of 70 different diseases like leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, fanconi anaemia and auto immune deficiency diseases. These diseases have been successfully treated with umbilical cord stem cells. The umbilical cord blood stem cells are fast emerging as a prime source of stem cells in the field of regenerative medicine, repair of injured tissues, nerves and organs.

According to Tushar Dalal, president of StemCyte India, the company plans to build 20,000 diverse units to help treat critically ill patients in India and abroad. He said, “Strategically situated in Gujarat, which has the highest frequency of Thalassemia patients, StemCyte India will spread the ray of hope among patients of this life threatening disease.”

While StemCyte has earlier signed two research and licensing agreements for human umbilical cord blood stem cell treatment of spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and other problems of the central nervous system, these research programs will be conducted in India by Apollo Hospitals and Cadila Pharmaceuticals here as well.


Metro blood bank project hits roadblock

August 17, 2009

Courtesy by: expressindia.com

Mumbai The proposed metro blood bank project at the civic-run Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (LTMG) in Sion has not taken off yet as funds from the Centre have not reached the civic authorities.

The proposed state-of-the-art blood bank — the second such blood bank in the city after the state-owned metropolitan blood bank in the JJ Hospital complex in Byculla — was supposed to get a Rs 125-crore grant from the Centre.

Dr Sanjay Jadhav, member of the governing board, National Blood Transfusion Council, and in-charge of the metropolitan blood bank project, said the project is on and architects are being appointed, but he confirmed that the funds have not reached the civic authorities yet.

“The metro blood bank project in Mumbai is in sync with similar blood banks in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. The funds have to be released together,” he said. The funds for the blood bank were sanctioned in November 2008.

When contacted, Dr Sandhya Kamat, dean of LTMG Hospital, confirmed that the blood bank project has not taken off yet.

The civic body had identified a 75,000-sq ft plot at the old army barracks of Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Sion to set up the blood bank. It also had a plan to start the construction early this year.

A blood collection centre is only part of the mega project. The civic body has a plan to make it a centre of excellence by setting up a molecular biology lab, genetics studies centre,

immunology centre, cord banking and stem cell facilities, plasma fractionation centre, thalassemia day care centre, hemophilia day care centre and biotechnology laboratory.

The civic body is also planning to start Phd programme and post gradute courses like MD in transfusion medicine and MSc at the centre.

According to sources, the centre would act as a ‘mother’ blood bank for small and private blood banks in the city, with a fully automated facility for blood testing and component separation.

According to civic authorities, the project has not been written off and they are waiting for funds from the Centre.


Blood supply dips during summer vacations

June 4, 2009

Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

PUNE: It is the flip side of summer vacations. Twenty-two blood banks in the city face supply crunch for three months at a stretch starting April every year. The reason: their most prized blood donors – the student class – is out on vacation.

“The annual average blood requirement of the city is 1.5 lakh units approximately. Of this, 40 per cent is contributed by students. That’s the reason why blood banks in the city face crunch during summer vacations between April and June,” said Dilip Wani, national president of Jankalyan Chain of Blood Banks in India. Besides 40 per cent by students’ community, the rest is contributed by workers from the organised sector (25 per cent), political outfits (10 per cent) and the remaining 25 per cent is taken care of by social, voluntary and religious organisations, added Wani.

Sharing the view, Prashant Chaudhari, chairman of the blood bank of Poona Serological Institute, said, “Students make 40 per cent of the contribution to the annual requirement of the city. Hence, blood banks in the city have to adopt various ways to meet the shortfall during summer. The stress is more on motivating patients’ relatives to donate blood during this period.”

“This seasonal shortfall causes serious problems for Thalassemia patients and those who are suffering from blood cancer as well, who need constant transfusion,” said Wani.

Echoing same sentiment, blood transfusion officer of the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital Sanjeev Ketkar said, “We rely on software industries in and around the city to fill up the gap. Similarly, we have formed voluntary platelet donor support group for patients of cancer and dengue.”

Ram Bangad, who runs the trust Raktache Nate’ with a base of 7,000 donors in the city, said, “It is true that summer vacation leads to crunch, but hospitals try to fill up the gap by conducting camps on industry premises. And it is not just students who go on vacation, even those hailing from other states go back home during this period, adding to the shortage.” There is need to approach people at the right time and place to motivate them to donate blood. Recently, we conducted a blood donation camp along with the Maheshwari community and the response was quite good, added Bangad.


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