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Regional centre to regulate blood banks in capital.

ISLAMABAD -- The construction of a modern regional blood centre in the capital will soon, using funding from the German government, as land has been provided, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP) National Coordinator Prof Hasan Abbas Zaheer said on Thursday.

Speaking to Dawn, he said the centre will serve as a blood procurement and distribution centre for the city, ensuring quality systems to regulate activities that will involve the mobilisation and retention of voluntary and regular blood donors.

The SBTP began in 2010. During its first phase, the German government allocated pound 17 million for the establishment of 10 regional blood centres, each of which had to regulate 60 laboratories and blood banks.

Centre to be established in capital in second phase of SBTP

Regional blood centres were established all over the country, including in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, but not in the capital.

Mr Zaheer said it was important to promote a culture of voluntary blood donations in Pakistan, where people usually rely on family donors to sustain the transfusion system. He said this is not an enviable option, and places unnecessary burden on patients' families, who are already stressed.

He said the regional blood centre will regulate all of the capital's blood banks to ensure patients are supplied blood.

Another pound 10m has been approved for the programme's second phase, to increase the area in which blood will be supplied.

The procurement of laboratory equipment for blood banks, improved management of hazardous medical waste, the installation of a central information system and efforts to motivate voluntary non-remunerated blood donors are also part of the programme's second phase.

Mr Zaheer said that Pakistan received 3.5m blood donations every year. Because of the establishment of 10 regional blood centres, the supply of quality and disease-free blood has been ensured to 15pc (525,000 donations) of the country's population.

'During the second phase of the project, which will end in June 2019, another 15pc of the population will get access to quality blood. This means that over 1m blood donations will be included in the programme and it will cover 60m people,' he said.

The regional blood centre will be established on 10 kanals of land in Chak Shahzad, he said.

Islamabad's regional blood centre will regulate all the blood banks and laboratories in the capital, 'due to which we will be able to know how many blood bags will be in the city and how many bags will expire in the next few days'. Mr Zaheer added that a special software will be used to implement 'first come, first go' to avoid the expiration of blood.

In response to a question, he said it has been observed that the quality of blood is compromised because of small blood banks. The same kind of equipment is placed at every blood bank, which is a waste of financial and human resources, he added.

'We have been working on the idea that one blood bank should deal with many hospitals, instead of establishing a blood bank in each hospital,' he said.

'There are around 20 blood banks in the capital, but 75pc of blood is collected at three banks. We have been considering reducing banks and making arrangements to provide blood from three blood banks to all hospitals, because small blood banks mostly face inventory problems which mean they don't have all eight blood types at a time,' he said.

'We are also coordinating with the provinces for uniform blood transfusion safety laws. I believe that public awareness is very important, because if people are aware of blood transfusion safety they will never allow unsafe blood to be given to their relatives,' Mr Zaheer said.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 15, 2018
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