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Blood bank blues plague patients

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 26: Patients are suffering, with the directorate of drug control administration slapping a temporary closure notice on Red Cross Blood Bank at the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC)-run hospital here.

The city has two blood component separation units — one at BMC hospital and the other at Capital Hospital. However, this closure makes it impossible for the BMC facility to function. The facility at Capital Hospital has been lying defunct since May last year.

Consequently, patients suffering from cancer, kidney-related diseases and haemophilia have to depend on Central Red Cross Blood Bank in Cuttack. Though blood component separation units exists in four private hospitals in the city, patients hardly go there because of the lack of awareness.

While the blood bank at BMC hospital supplied around 300 units of blood components every month, the blood bank at Capital Hospital provided another 300 units.

“We used to visit the BMC blood bank for blood components because the component-separation unit at Capital Hospital was lying defunct for a long time. But now we have no option but to depend on the blood bank in Cuttcak,” said Bighneswar Behera, relative of a cancer patient in Rasulgarh.

A component-separation unit separates red blood cells, plasma and platelets for specific use in different treatment processes. The blood component separation facility separates the different components and stores them in designated containers. The separated components are important because one unit of blood can be used to treat three or four patients.

On February 8, the directorate slapped a temporary closure notice on the blood bank at BMC hospital citing poor sanitation and staff shortage at the facility. Last May, it had asked the Capital Hospital authorities to shut down the blood component separation unit because two refrigerators were lying defunct.

Sources said a refrigerator for maintaining a temperature of – 80°C is mandatory to store blood components and a second one is required as a back-up support.

Chief medical officer of Capital Hospital Sudarshan Dash said the component separation unit would start functioning soon. “We have already procured the refrigerators and the component separation unit will start functioning in a few days,” said Dash.

Red Cross secretary Mangala Prasad Mohanty said the BMC hospital blood bank will start functioning from April 1.