The availability of blood in blood banks across the city has still not reached pre-pandemic levels, causing shortages.
Bengaluru: Blood banks across the city faced a sharp decline in the number of donors during the pandemic. However, despite the fall in cases and an increase in number of people getting vaccinated, the number of blood donors has still not improved much.
Abdul Rahaman Shariff, Head Blood Bank Officer at Jeevraksha Voluntary Blood Bank, said, “Our collections have dropped from 1000 units a month pre pandemic to 100 units per month currently because people are expecting a third wave and they think that their antibodies will reduce if they donate blood.”
There has been a declining trend ever since the pandemic hit in March 2020. Blood banks faced difficulty in collecting even the bare minimum stock of blood required during the pandemic
Mr. Johnson, Head Technician at Lions Blood Bank, said, “We have to maintain the flow of blood. We have only one option, we are forced to ask for replacement for blood. So any bottle they take from here has to be replaced because we cannot meet the shortages and run the bank without the donors.”
Families of patients who required blood during the pandemic were made to donate their own blood in exchange for the desired blood type.
Dr. Kamlesh Khandelwal, a gastrointestinal surgeon talked about the importance of blood, saying blood is vital in cases of surgeries or trauma and requires immediate attention. If they patient is not transfused the blood in time, it could lead to a fatality.
Hospitals and blood banks are carrying out initiatives to encourage more people to donate blood. Mr. Gowda, Blood Bank Operator at BGS Gleaneagles Hospital, said, “We are doing some motivation and some counseling is given. We are setting up blood donation camps. We are totally dependent on universities, colleges, and software companies who have still not fully opened.”
A lot of blood banks are parking mobile blood donation vans near busy areas in order to catch the eye of passers-by and encourage them to donate blood. Methods of promoting blood donation include setting up standees outside offices and educational institutes, sending emails to ex-patients and past donors, doctors spreading awareness about the importance of blood donation among their patients during routine consultations, among others.
Blood bank operators say that they do not see the number of donors going up for at least a year.