As blood banks run dry, Bengal hospitals roll out ‘give blood, get Covid vaccine’ initiative

With blood donations slowing to a trickle in comparison with occasions of normalcy within the state, hospitals and blood donation organizations in West Bengal have adopted a novel strategy: donate blood and, in flip, be assured a Covid-19 vaccination slot.

“Since the pandemic started last year, all the private hospitals are facing a major shortage of blood; all our blood banks are almost dry now. This is mostly because during the pandemic time, we could not hold any blood donation camps,” mentioned Rupak Barua, Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals.

Moreover, since one can not donate blood for 14 days after the primary or second dose of the vaccine, donors grew to become few and much between. Amid this disaster, the ‘give blood and get a jab’ initiative was undertaken by hospitals to encourage folks to return out and donate blood, with the added incentive of vaccines aiming to dispel apprehensions about visiting hospitals throughout Covid occasions.

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Project Life Force, a non-profit belief that connects donors to recipients freed from value, tied up with Techno India Dama hospital final month to get this initiative off the bottom. The group additionally encourages folks to donate blood to most cancers sufferers at Tata Medical Centre whereas assuring donors of a vaccine slot.

“There is a grave need for blood. Since people were looking for vaccine slots in recent weeks, we approached the Techno Dama hospital to provide vaccine slots for those who donated blood. If people do not want to go to hospitals, there are two buses which travel to different parts of the city where a group of people can donate blood in a safe and sanitized environment,” mentioned Pranab Bedi, co-founder, Project Life Force.

Anybody who donates blood as a part of this initiative can stroll right into a hospital tied up with the camp organizers after a minimal of three days and obtain a vaccine shot. Donors can not get vaccinated on the identical day as they donate blood.

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During the second wave of Covid-19, the demand for blood plasma and transfusions peaked. There are additionally sufferers who want blood all year long, like these affected by thalassaemia, blood and different types of cancers, kidney failure, and people present process common dialysis, shared Dr Ritam Chakraborty, head of transfusion medication & blood financial institution, AMRI Hospital, Dhakuria.

As a outcome, blood banks are going through an acute scarcity as a consequence of elevated demand and low donors. NGOs, political events and hospitals who normally organise blood donation camps stopped doing in order the lethal virus ripped by means of India. People are additionally reluctant to enterprise out of the protection of their properties and donate blood, for worry of contracting Covid-19.

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In West Bengal, there’s a extreme paucity of blood in coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts as a consequence of lesser variety of blood donation camps being organized within the space, mentioned D Ashish, secretary, Medical financial institution.

“Summer months, elections and festivals like Durga Puja see a significant shortage of blood as fewer people step out to donate blood. West Bengal needs 15 lakh units of blood per year, while currently the state accumulates only around 13 lakh units of blood. In a day, the average blood collected in the state is 4000 units but right now we are collecting only half of that. I appeal to the government to put out hoardings telling people to donate blood as there is a shortage,” Ashish appealed.

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