The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital in Faridabad will establish Haryana’s first plasma bank by the end of this month, with officials from the facility saying they have procured all the permissions and most of the infrastructure for the facility and are now working on motivating people to donate plasma.
According to officials from ESIC, the hospital was the first in the state to begin plasma therapy back in May as part of the placid trial. A decision was taken to apply for the setting up of the plasma bank after seeing the enquiries from patients and the surge in cases in Faridabad in June and July.
“Over the last few weeks, it has been seen that senior patients who were not responding to treatment responded very well after plasma therapy, and we were also receiving calls from a lot of donors, which is why we thought why not do this for more people and start a plasma bank,” said Dr AK Pandey, Registrar (Academic).
“We are already running plasma therapy for our institutional demand and in some emergency cases, but once this develops as a plasma bank it will cater not only to ESIC but also to other hospitals in Faridabad and in other districts such as Gurgaon, because almost two-thirds of cases are from these two districts. We already had a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, Dean and Civil Surgeon, and have started working towards establishing the bank,” he said.
The hospital’s plan, officials said, is to establish a plasma bank capable of accommodating 300 plasma bags, with a reserve of around 100 units at any point. A team of at least 10 people will handle the facility, with manpower being diverted from departments that are currently not operating, such as OPD and Emergency. The hospital has also secured approval from the ESIC headquarters for some more technicians, who are expected to be appointed soon.
Although ESIC hospital has the infrastructure required for the bank, including a plasmapheresis machine, and is working on improving storage capacity, the next challenge, officials anticipate, will be encouraging people to donate plasma for the bank.
“For plasma bank, the scenario is such that people are donating but the units are getting taken for use simultaneously because there is so much demand. We got three donations day before yesterday, one donation today also, but the demand is so high that whatever we are collecting is getting used on the same day itself, so there is not much stock for the bank as of now,” said Dr Nimisha Sharma, nodal officer for the plasma bank.
“We have recipients, but in order to be effective we need to have lots of plasma from all the blood groups. We are in touch with some social organisations, NGOs as well as Red Cross to motivate people to donate plasma; even our staff who tested positive have volunteered. However, there is a need for some community education and awareness program, and to make them aware that within 48 hours the entire plasma along with antibodies will be replaced in them,” said Dr Pandey.
Officials said that people can donate plasma 14 days after they recover from coronavirus and every 15 days thereafter. Unlike blood, which cannot be stored for more than 55 days, plasma can be stored for up to a year, they said.
“The bank will be ready by July 20 or 22,” said Dr Pandey.
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