60,000-odd units of donated blood go down the drain every year, reveals Karnataka govt

Despite the demand for blood and blood donors in hospitals and blood banks, a whopping number of blood units are wasted every year. Contrary to supply and demand, the increasing number of blood units is wasted every day! According to state government records, a total of 60,000-plus blood units are discarded every year in both government and private blood banks. While a few units are discarded for damage in blood bags or insufficient quality, an even more number of units are discarded for being ‘outdated’!

Surprised by the growing trend among blood banks across the state, BJP legislator V Somanna on Monday drew the attention of the state government in Legislative Council to the issue.

Replying to the query, Health and Family welfare minister KR Ramesh Kumar acknowledged that considerable blood collected from donors is discarded and wasted, and it has come to the notice of the state government.

Explaining further by laying out detailed statistics, Ramesh Kumar said, “Blood and Blood components have a shelf life. In almost all the blood banks, the collected blood units are discarded just because they are outdated. A few other units are discarded for being infected with severe ailments and reasons such as insufficient quality, damage in blood bags etc.”

According to the statistics, in 2016-17 alone, a whopping 64,913 units of blood were discarded, out of which 34,052 were discarded for being outdated! In 2015-16, 64,361 blood units were disposed of with 32,644 being ‘outdated’.

Sources in the health department revealed that Bengaluru Urban has 64 blood banks including private and government run ones. Considering infrastructure and the inflow of blood units into government-run blood banks, the discarding rate is minimal in all government blood banks. A total of 1,88,537 blood units were discarded in the last three-years, according to the health minister.
A senior doctor from the health department said, “Blood and its components have an expiry date like any other drugs. While a platelet concentrate has a shelf life of 5 days, a bottle of red cells last for 35 days. Similarly, red cells with additive solution last for 42 days. A few other components like Fresh Frozen Plasma, Cryoprecipitate and CPP last for one year and 5 years respectively.”
The minister also revealed that the government has been keeping a watch on blood banks that poorly maintain blood units and drug controllers have been directed to crack the whip on such units.
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