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Covid poses challenges for PGIMER blood bank, where 90 per cent contribution comes from voluntary donors

As the modalities regarding the bank are worked out, Prof (Dr) Rati Ram Head of Transfusion Medicine Department, PGIMER, has been deeply involved in filling in the gaps that the pandemic has caused in the regular voluntary contribution to the blood bank at the hospital.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh | August 31, 2020 2:30:37 am
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An expert committee has been formulated to look at the various logistics of creating a convalescent plasma bank at PGIMER, an experimental treatment that some doctors are using for people with severe the novel coronavirus disease.

As the modalities regarding the bank are worked out, Prof (Dr) Rati Ram Head of Transfusion Medicine Department, PGIMER, has been deeply involved in filling in the gaps that the pandemic has caused in the regular voluntary contribution to the blood bank at the hospital.

The doctor admitted that the period of lockdown and the rising cases have created a challenging situation for the bank as organisations, schools and colleges haven’t been able to mobilise donations or organise camps due to the pandemic.

“More than 90 per cent of the contribution to the blood bank is from voluntary donors, which is extremely heartening, with a large section of young people from the Tricity, coming forward for regular donations. But due to the pandemic, educational institutions being closed, we have had to face a tough time. In April and May, we had to bring donors in buses to PGI after intensive thermal screenings, following all hygiene standards and physical distancing norms to ensure we did not fall short of supply. Our blood donation vehicle was also used for the purpose,” said Prof Ram.

While regular OPDs are not functioning at full capacity, regular blood supply is needed for cancer, gynaecology, thalassemia and surgical patients, who are being treated at the PGI, with the demand as high as 250 units a day. With many patients from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal also seeking emergency treatment at PGIMER, the demand for blood goes higher, with no replacement of blood asked from outstation patients.

“When a patient is in such dire need, you just have to go ahead and give them the best possible at that moment. We need citizens of the city to come forward in this moment of crisis. We are banking on them as we ensure safety standards, and small groups of people for donations,” added the doctor.

Meanwhile, the Thalassaemic Charitable Trust, PGI-GMCH, Chandigarh is serving Thalassemic patients by arranging blood transfusions in its day care centres at PGIMER and GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Patients from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are registered with the trust. The trust with the help and cooperation of voluntary blood donors and groups is arranging blood donation camps every Saturday since June 6, while observing strict COVID-19 precautions.

“More than 1,500 units of blood have been collected in these camps and all donors are honoured by the trust,” said Rajjnder Kalra, Member Secretary of Thalassaemic Charitable Trust PGI-GMCH, Chandigarh.

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