| (From top) A blood collection vehicle that was inaugurated by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, participants in the Mini Marathon to mark the World AIDS Day, and an inside view of the blood collection bus. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati and Badrika Nath Das
Bhubaneswar, Dec. 1: The blood bank in the Capital Hospital has been upgraded with the addition of a blood component separation unit (BCSU), which is the first of its kind in the state.
The new unit was inaugurated today to mark the World AIDS Day. The day also saw chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurating a state-of-the-art mobile blood collection van. Hospital sources said the upgraded blood bank would also train professionals engaged in the field. The unit will get recognition from the National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco).
The chief minister said that the government had also initiated steps for the convergence of HIV and AIDS programme with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to provide better services to the people living in far flung areas.
Health minister Prasanna Kumar Acharya said: “Orissa is the first state in the country to suggest to the Centre to include the AIDS-affected individuals under BPL category.”
Health secretary Anu Garg said that Red Ribbon Express launched by Naco and Indian Railways, which reached Orissa in the month of May, got overwhelming response. The state was adjudged the second best in creating AIDS awareness in the country.
Explaining the new facility at the blood bank, Orissa State AIDS Control Society project director Pramod Kumar Meherda said the component separation unit would separate red blood cells (RBCs), plasma and platelets for specific use in different treatment processes. “The BCSU has the facility to separate the different components of blood and store it in designated containers,” he added. He also said that the bank would soon be functioning as a full-fledged training centre for professionals.
Blood bank officer Debasish Mishra said: “The separation of different components of blood is needed for different reasons. For example, while RBCs are needed for the flow of oxygen in the body, plasma is used for supplementing coagulation factors and platelets are required if its count in the recipient’s blood becomes low.’’
Referring to the mobile blood collection van launched by the CM today, the officer said that it has facilities for four people donating blood at a time.
“There is a doctors’ room, waiting area for donors, four refrigerators to store 800 units of blood, a microwave, an LCD TV, a wash basin and a toilet in the van,’’ he added.
An activist campaigning for blood donation said the government had failed to give the Central Red Cross Blood Bank, Cuttack, its due.
“It is the oldest blood bank in the state and the seventh oldest in the country. The annual collection of blood there is more than 40,000 units. It’s great contribution to saving thousands of lives should be recognised,” he said.