Indicating that there are serious gaps in the country’s blood banking system, over 28 lakh units of blood and its components were wasted in five years by banks across India, as per a report. India, with its population of 1.2 billion people, requires 12 million units of blood annually; however, only nine million units are collected every year. The country faces a blood shortage of three million units. It is said that NCR alone faces a shortage of 1, 00,000 units per year. The cumulative wastage of of 6% translates to over 6 lakh litres, if calculated in litres, says the report from TOI. Lack of coordination between blood banks and hospitals has resulted in wastage of blood, including red blood cells and plasma as the life-saving components could not be used before their expiry date, and says the report. Blood has four main components – plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets – with each of them having different functions. Red blood cells are the most needed blood component, transporting oxygen through the body. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood that transports red blood cells, platelets, and other cells within our bloodstream. Plasma donations can be frozen for up to one year prior to their transfusion into recipients. Platelets are required to prevent or stop bleeding.
Shortage of blood, plasma or platelets often results in maternal mortality as well as deaths in cases of accidents involving severe blood loss. The report names Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu among the worst offenders. In the wastage of red blood cells, Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka bagged the top three positions. Whereas UP and Karnataka wasted the maximum units of fresh frozen plasma. It is said that 50% of the wasted units were of plasma and the spoilage has been laid bare in data provided by the National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) in response to an RTI query filed by petitioner Chetan Kothari, added the report.To address the shortfall and enhance acecess to blood products by patients, the Union Health Ministry has said that it is coming up with 79 new blood banks in different states such as Uttar Pradesh, J&K, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

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