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Gifts turn burden for blood bank

It’s a gift that turned out to be useless.

Two hi-tech machines that All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, sent to Jamshedpur Blood Bank last year to break and separate blood components have been lying defunct since the day they arrived in April with the authorities failing to fix them up.

Jharkhand State AIDS Control Society (JSACS), the state wing of National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco) that had helped the blood bank acquire the refrigerated centrifuges — a sophisticated device that breaks blood into its components like red cells, platelets and plasma — could not also help much.

As a result, Jamshedpur Blood Bank, which caters to the whole of Kolhan and witnesses a huge demand for blood units, has to make do with the three functional refrigerated centrifuges that it currently has.

“There is a huge demand for blood from us as a number of hospitals are dependent on us. At present, we are somehow managing with the existing centrifuges, but wanted to be ready for the worst times and had hence requested JSACS to arrange some more machines for us. JSACS, in turn, informed Naco, which told us that there were two extra machines in AIIMS and we could take them. We readily agreed as AIIMS was willing to give them for free,” Nalini Rammurthy, secretary of Jamshedpur Blood Bank, told The Telegraph.

According to Rammurthy, the centrifuges arrived in April 2013. But to their disappointment, they found that the machines were not working.

“We immediately called a mechanic, but he could not fix the snag. We wrote to JSACS, informing them about the problem since it had helped us get the machines, but we are yet to receive any response. Now, we need to solve the issue and find out whether there will be a replacement or we will get a new one,” she added.

On an average, the blood bank separates 150-170 components per day and supplies them to over 70 hospitals and nursing homes across Kolhan. It also caters to thalassaemia patients.

“The pressure mounts when there is an outbreak of diseases like dengue and we have to constantly supply platelets. Then, there are cancer patients who turn up regularly. It is for such emergencies that we urgently require more machines,” Rammurthy said.

A senior official of JSACS in Ranchi said they were well aware of the problem and in fact, had already written a letter to Naco towards the end of December.

“We are waiting for a response from Naco. As Naco had arranged the refrigerated centrifuges from AIIMS, we don’t have much of a role to play here. We have to wait for Naco’s final decision,” the official said.