Mumbai is looking at an acute shortage of blood and platelets in its 51 blood banks. Officials are worrying about how to stock up before the monsoon, when dengue and leptospirosis outbreaks are common, push up the demand for platelets.
Data from State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) till Tuesday shows there are less than 10 blood units each in blood banks of Dr R N Cooper hospital, GT hospital, Holy Family hospital, K B Bhabha municipal hospital, Rajawadi hospital, Ashirwad blood bank, Sushilaben blood bank, Asian Heart Institute, Masina hospital, Sant Nirankari blood bank and Jagjivan Ram hospital.
The most badly hit blood groups are A negative, B negative, AB negative and O negative. There are only 883 units of A positive blood group, the most common blood group, and over 600 units of B positive.
A blood bank official said if more donation camps are not held, they may look at dry blood banks in May and June. Every year, these two months record the lowest blood donation due to summer holidays. “This year, the lockdown has aggravated the blood shortage. We could not hold blood donation camps in March and April,” the official added.
A major camp for all blood banks is held every April in Bandra, when over 5,000 blood units are collected. On Labour Day, too, several blood banks hold similar camps. These drives were not held this year to ensure social distancing.
“We are worried about monsoon, when platelet demand rises,” said Dr Arun Thorat, in charge of SBTC. Maintaaining that blood camps can have only five donors at a time, he added: “We are trying to hold small blood donation drives in residential areas. We are reaching out to regular donors to come forward.”
The current stock of platelets is less than 400 units in Mumbai. Requirement for blood rises 800 to 900 units every day in the city during monsoon. “We are tabulating how many platelets are required so that arrangements can be made accordingly,” Thorat said.
Dr Akash Khobragade, superintendent of St George’s hospital, which runs a Thalassemia centre, said there are only 30 units of blood left for Thalassemia patients. “We haven’t faced a shortage yet… we are holding another camp for blood donation this Sunday,” he added.
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