Restrictions on the movement of people during the lockdown and apprehensions over transmission of coronavirus have resulted in dwindling reserves at blood banks in the city. Though there is no immediate threat, a severe shortage of blood is imminent, if the situation continues for long, say doctors.
Donors wonder whether it is safe to donate blood when the coronavirus threat looms large.
Though doctors say their fears are unfounded, donors have their own apprehensions. Further, the non-availability of public transport and restrictions on the movement of private vehicles are rge others causes for donors keeping away from donation.
“Though COVID-19 is not transmitted through blood, positive patients will not be considered for donation, till they complete 28 days post-recovery. Similarly, donors, with travel history or their family members testing positive for COVID-19 are not considered,” says A. Sugandhi, Medical Director, A.S. Raja Voluntary Blood Bank.
“We follow the national blood transfusion guidelines and there is no room for apprehension among donors. The lockdown curbs resulted in the depletion of our stocks. We are not being allowed to hold camps in view of the social distancing norms.”
“I had adopted 70 children, suffering from thalassemia 15 years ago, and have been meeting their blood requirements through regular donors ever since. We requested Police Commissioner R.K. Meena to issue passes to blood donors for additional relaxation time, and he readily agreed. We are able to manage with the existing supplies but in May, we are likely to face problems,” explains Dr. Sugandhi.
“The relatives of patients are donating blood, when it comes to delivery-related complications. Thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia patients have stopped coming in view of the lockdown. They need to go for blood transfusion only when they face a crisis like bleeding and not at regular intervals,” says G. Arjuna, Superintendent of King George Hospital.
“Our reserves fell to 35 units before COVID-19. We received 64 units through the recent donation of Rajya Sabha member Vijaya Sai Reddy and other YSR Congress Party leaders. We shared 50 units with KGH and Victoria Government Hospital (VGH).
Though accidents have declined and surgeries are not being performed, thalassemia and sickle cell patients need blood,” says P. Venugopal, HOD, Pediatrics, Andhra Medical College and chairman of IRCS Blood Bank.
“Actor Chiranjeevi has sent the right message by donating blood in this crisis. He should now call upon his fans in Visakhapatnam too to contribute to the noble cause,” he says.