India starts mobile blood banks to tackle blood deficit


Have you ever donated blood?  Well, I have several times during my undergraduate in blood donation camps in the college premises.  Usually, it’s pretty simple, the staff asks you questions about your medication to make sure you are eligible to donate blood.  Then you donate blood, eat refreshment and go home.  India, in spite of more than 1 billlion population, is struggling to keep up with demand of 8.5 million units of blood per annum with deficit of 2 million units.  The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) started a state of art blood collection bus in capital of India, Delhi.  

Details about the blood collection bus drive
The cost of the bus is Rs 1.10 crore and the capability includes:

  • Each bus can collect 300 bags of blood (each bag contains 450 ml) a day
  • bus is air conditioned
  • four donors can donate the blood at any given instance
  • bus will have refreshment section for blood donors
  • The collected blood will be taken to model blood banks under proper cold chain 

The bus was flagged off by health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. In Delhi, the blood will be taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. One unit of blood is 450 ml and half-a-litre of donated blood can help save three lives. 

How many of such buses have been rolled on ground?
It is estimated that over 32 such moving blood banks will be rolled out, which should cover all the states, in a span of three months.  It is expected that most states will have one such moving blood bank, but larger states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu will have two. 

WHO statistics regarding blood donation
According to WHO,

  • Developing countries and transitional have 80% of world’s population, but collect less than...

    45% of donated blood
  • It would take 1%-3% of a country’s population to donates blood to cater country’s need
  • Only less than 1% population donates blood in 73 countries
  • In 2002, 63 countries were collecting more than 75% of their blood supplies from family and paid blood donors. This number had fallen to 38 countries in 2006. 



More than 81 million units of blood are collected globally every year. WHO introduced the 100% unpaid, voluntary blood donation policy in 1997. Annually, unsafe transfusion causes an estimated 8-16 million Hepatitis B infections, 2.3-4.7 million Hepatitis C infections and around 1.6 lakh HIV infections.  

 I think it was surprising to see that in many countries, less than 1% of the population donates blood. When was the last time, you donated blood.  It would be great if you could join the drive and help India replenish its blood bank deficit; either you can donate or suggest to your HR to arrange blood donation camp in your company.  Just think by “donating 450 ml of blood, you can save three lives.”

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Source: Times of India

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