Around 28 lakh units of blood and its components have been discarded by banks all over India in the last five years. These figures have highlighted serious gaps in the country's blood banking system.
According to Zee News, India has a population of 1.2 billion people and annually requires over 12 million blood units. However, only nine million units are collected. This means the country faces a shortage of over three million units of blood every year. There is a shortage of 1,00,000 units of blood in the National Capital Region (NCR) itself.
Several deaths can be caused due to severe blood loss in case there is a shortage of blood, plasma, or platelets. Over the past few years, there has been wastage of blood due to lack of coordination between the hospitals and blood banks. Blood, including life-saving components such as plasma and red blood cells, has been disposed of as it could not be used before the expiry date.
According to The Times of India, the biggest offenders were states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu who just did not dispose of the blood but also these life-saving components. Six percent of cumulative wastage translated into the loss of six litres of blood, which can be used to fill over 53 water tanks.
Blood is made up of four major components namely plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, each one of them having unique functions. Plasma has a year-long shelf life, which is much longer as compared to the red blood cells and whole blood that has a deadline of only 35 days. Despite having much longer shelf life, 50 percent wastage of plasma was observed.
According to Zee News, the maximum units of fresh frozen plasma were wasted by Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
The data produced by the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) in response to an RTI query filed by petitioner Chetan Kothari has laid out the harsh reality of blood wastage. However, the Union Health Ministry has announced the introduction of 79 new blood banks to address this shortage and also boost the availability of blood to patients all over the country.