DESPITE the existence of a machine that can considerably bring down expenses, patients using the civic healthcare system continue to buy frozen plasma at almost 100 per cent higher rates. The lone plasma fractionation machine in Mumbai’s public healthcare system, kept at the civic-run Shatabdi Hospital in Govandi, has been lying defunct since its procurement in 2006. Reason: the building it is to be housed in remains under construction.
The plasma fractionation machine of 18,000 litres per day capacity was installed at a cost of nearly Rs 3.5 crore by the National Plasma Fractionation Centre (NPFC). The machine segregates blood plasma into different components, including fractionated components such as albumin and globulin. Albumin finds its application treating burns, complications in liver failure cases and blood loss.
In the last few years, the civic body has spent over Rs 8 crore to construct infrastructure to house the machine. Following considerable delays, the agreement with the contractor for the civil works was cancelled in 2015. The BMC floated fresh e-tenders, but the appointment of another contractor is expected to delay the entire project by a few more years.
Corporator Dr Saida Khan says, “This (delay) has happened due to total administrative failure. I have written to the commissioner on it as well.”
For now, the machine stands wrapped in dusty sheets inside the Shatabdi hospital. The civic body currently relies on private centres for purchasing plasma units. The cost of one plasma unit is Rs 300 at a public facility, and starts from Rs 600 per unit at private centres though the National Blood Transfusion Council has set Rs 400 as the rate for private centres.
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