The government’s initiative to put out information about blood units online has proved to be a damp squib.
The facility was launched around July last year with details of available blood units in the state capital uploaded on the website of the Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS). A year on, information remains sketchy. Only a few blood banks update the information.
BSACS officials said the website provides information on available units in only a few blood banks in the state capital, including Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) and Jaiprabha Model Blood Bank.
Dr B.N. Gupta, additional project director-cum-joint director, blood safety, BSACS, said: “Our plan was to give a unit-wise break-up of all 64 registered blood banks in the state on our website, www.bsacs.org. Last year, we first updated the information of blood units available for donation (in the state capital) at Jaiprabha blood bank and blood bank of Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences. Later, a few other blood banks were added to the list. However, four registered blood banks in Patna have not been giving their details despite frequent reminders. Some of the blood banks in the districts, however, update information on the blood units available with them regularly.”
He said blood banks at Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, Holy Family Hospital at Kurji and PMCH had not been sending updates citing lack of resources. As of Wednesday, the BSACS website recorded 137 units of blood available at the PMCH blood bank, while Jaiprabha blood bank had only 292 units in store.
Registered blood banks in Patna, however, said they update the information on and off but things were not yet streamlined because of technical reasons. A senior administrator at Holy Family Hospital, Kurji, said: “We send in the details regularly but sometimes, because of lack of resources, it is hampered.”
Gupta said: “The step was aimed to help thousands of people who can immediately know where the required units of a blood group is available. It will take us some time to fully update the information system but when it happens, it would benefit people immensely. The information will also make the people realise the importance of voluntary blood donation in the state.”
Sources said the percentage of voluntary blood donation in the state was low, in turn hitting the availability of units of blood. In voluntary blood donation, Bihar does not even figure in the top 10. While each of the top five states — Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra — account for above 80 per cent, Bihar records 23 per cent.
Experts said lack of education and awareness about the importance of blood donation was a major reason why people were not interested in it.
“Red Cross Society owns five blood banks in the state at Patna, Ara, Samastipur, Purnea and Motihari where blood collection is satisfactory. The latest data available with us is collection of about 50,000 units in 2009-2010. But the situation is poor at government blood banks across the districts,” said a senior Red Cross Society officer.
The state had entrusted the Red Cross Society with the ma-nagement of blood banks in 17 districts in 2006 because of the centres’ ailing condition.