Over 2,385 unregistered blood banks operating in Pakistan | Pakistan Today

Over 2,385 unregistered blood banks operating in Pakistan

Over 2,385 unregistered blood banks in Pakistan are operating without any check by the authorities concerned, while only 130 out of 2,525 are registered, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Blood Transfusion Programme and Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said at a press conference on Tuesday.
They said 40 percent of all blood transfusions were being done without screening, thus spreading deadly diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Dr Hassan Abbass, manager of the National Blood Transfusion Programme, said a survey conducted by WHO revealed that there were 2,515 blood banks in Pakistan, of which 170 were in the public sector, 15 were run by NGOs and 2,330 were being operated for profit.
“There is practically no system to monitor and run blood banks in the country. Although the government drafted regulatory laws, they are not being implemented. On the other hand there is a lack of national standards and protocols that are needed to run blood transfusion services in an efficient and quality-assured manner,” he lamented.
He said there was no national voluntary blood donation programme that could recruit and retain donors. He said the WHO discouraged this practice of friends and family donors, because family members of patients had higher rate of blood borne diseases compared to voluntary unpaid donors.
Dr Quaid Saeed Akhunzada, National Programme Officer, HIV and AIDS, WHO, said all public sector blood banks reported screening of blood bags for three diseases – HIV, Hepatitis B and C – while the WHO recommended that the blood should be screened for at-least five diseases, including Malaria and syphilis.
“Forty percent blood transfusion is done without screening and this practice is endangering lives of thousands of people,” he said. Akhunzada said the WHO was working worldwide to support the national and provisional blood transfusion programmes.
Earlier, Dr Hassan said Pakistan established blood safety programme as part of the national HIV and AIDS control programme until the launch of the recent National Blood Transfusion programme with the German government’s support. Asma Parvez Cheema, representative of the PRCS, said that their organisation focused on disasters, but it focused on the health sector in times of peace.
“In our society, we lack community mobilisation and there is no system of volunteer training in our education system,” she said.

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