Maharashtra’s State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) is setting up a centre to offer training for medical, paramedical and other personnel working in blood banks across India.
There are 2,228 blood banks in the country, of which Maharashtra has 256.
Some 50% of such banks in the state are run by charitable trusts, with a third being managed by the state government. The rest are operated by the Red Cross and the private sector. Last year, the state’s banks collected 970,000 units of blood through some 12,000 donation camps.
In 1996, the Supreme Court directed the government to overhaul the country’s blood transfusion system. In response, the National Blood Transfusion Council as well as state councils were set up to help improve transfusion services.
The Maharashtra council is setting up the integrated automatic blood transfusion centre at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai. The centre will use latest blood transfusion technology, part of an effort to try and avoid human error.
Unsafe blood is one of the major contributors to the spread of diseases in India and other developing nations, with infections, such as HIV, and other blood-related diseases, such as hepatitis B and C and syphilis, passed on to others through unsafe, donated blood.
“We plan to offer more than a dozen training modules in various aspects of blood transfusion,” says the council’s assistant director Sanjay Jadhav. This will include comprehensive training for screening blood for HIV1 and HIV2, malaria and venereal diseases. The training courses will be residential to allow students to spend enough time getting hands-on training on various machines, he added.
The training modules will also train blood bank personnel in bio-safety measures that protect them from potential on-the-job infections.
The training will also focus on donor motivation and organizing blood donation camps.
“Every blood bank should have a calendar of events for the next year so that collecting of blood does not happen in response only to a sudden need for blood,” says Jadhav.
One of the key elements in the training will also be managing blood transfusions in times of disaster. It will teach blood crisis management by maintaining detailed data of blood donors and map them geographically so that blood banks know exactly which donors can quickly reach donation sites during emergencies.
The training course will also have a module to train blood banks’ staff to separate blood components to maximize the usage of available blood.
Often, patients might require only one component of blood but they go for an entire unit, such as when only plasma is needed for dealing with a burn victim.