Modified blood policy to ease blood lending
Blood banks would be able to borrow blood from one another following a modification in the National Blood Policy. Though the Union Ministry took this decision on 16 October; however, formal instructions are yet to be issued. The Supreme Court had banned paid donation on 1 January 1996 leading to a shortage of blood units since then.
The National Blood Policy
The National Blood Policy was aimed at ensuring easily accessible and adequate supply of safe and quality blood, blood components and blood products. The policy encouraged appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products. Its objective was to eliminate profiteering in blood banks. The policy wanted to provide adequate resources to develop and reorganise the blood transfusion services in the country.
What does NACO do?
National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was launched in the year 1992. Their objective was to ensure reduction in the transfusion associated with HIV transmission. NACO vowed to provide safe and good quality blood within one hour of requirement in a health facility. NACO also tried to voluntary blood donation in order to increase the availability of blood according to the requirement.
Why was paid donation banned?
A bench headed by two Supreme Court judges banned the paid donation of blood. SC pointed out that it had converted into a trade flourished by poor people like unemployed, rickshaw pullers, drug addicts etc. selling their blood who suffered from various infections and low haemoglobin level. It was noted that people donated more than the prescribed times in a month.
The effects of the ban on paid donation
Due to the Supreme Court ruling in 1996, there was a tremendous shortage of blood across the country. Blood banks which had surplus units of blood available were not allowed to lend it to each other. SC had asked the government to discontinue replacement donation. Though, since few people donate blood regularly, family members of patients were asked to replace the withdrawn blood.
What is replacement blood donation?
Family members or friends of the patient can donate blood to replace the stored blood used in a transfusion, so as to fill the shortage of blood.
The blood report
India has 2,760 licensed blood banks. According to a WHO report, 9 million of 12 million blood units needed annually in India were collected through voluntary donation.