National Orientation cum Training Program on Blood Safety Begins at Chandigarh

Manoj Godara, Chandigarh, 18th December, 2008 :An Orientation cum Training program on Blood safety, jointly hosted by State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh and Blood Transfusion Council, Chandigarh, is on the go at hotel Aroma from 18 to 20 December, 2008 under National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) of GOI.

The conference includes the Program officers of 17 states who have congregated to deliberate on the National Blood Policy (NBP) and communicate various programs under NACP- III.   Though, the focus will be essentially on discussing the various activities carried out by the delegates in their respective states with regard to safe blood donations. The representatives will be taken for a field visit to various blood banks in the Tricity. Chandigarh has been spotted as the conference venue by NACO (National AIDS Control Organization) because of its exemplary contribution in blood donation.

The India Post

Talking on the occasion Dr Rajesh Gopal, one of the architects of NBP with more than 10 years of experience at AIIMS and 8 years tune-up with SACS Gujarat highlights, "For quality, safety and efficacy of blood and blood products, well-equipped blood centers with adequate infrastructure and trained manpower is an essential requirement. For effective clinical use of blood, it is necessary to train clinical staff.

The need of the hour is to attain maximum safety, good manufacturing practices and implementation of quality system moving towards total quality management. It is healthy to donate blood and most importantly don’t wait for the problem to loom over your head to go ahead with this noble cause rather be a cause for someone’s survival. If not more than in average a person should at least donate blood once in a year and I strongly believe in Club 25 for a healthy start."

A well organized Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) is a vital component of any health care delivery system. An integrated strategy for Blood Safety is required for elimination of transfusion transmitted infections and for provision of safe and adequate blood transfusion service to the people. The main component of an integrated strategy include collection of blood only from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors, screening for all transfusion transmitted infections and reduction of unnecessary transfusion.

Blood transfusion is the process of transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into the circulatory system of another. Blood transfusions can be life-saving in some situations, such as massive blood loss due to trauma, or can be used to replace blood lost during surgery. Blood transfusions may also be used to treat a severe anemia or thrombocytopenia caused by a blood disease. People suffering from hemophilia or sickle-cell disease may require frequent blood transfusions. Early transfusions used Whole Blood, but modern medical practice is to use only components of the blood.

Dr Gopal further reiterated that "the Blood Transfusion Service in the country is highly decentralized and lacks many vital resources like manpower, adequate infrastructure and financial base. The main issue, which plagues blood banking system in the country, is fragmented management. The standards vary from state to state, cities to cities and centre to centre in the same city."

The NBP aims to ensure easily accessible and adequate supply of safe and quality blood and blood components collected/procured from a voluntary non-remunerated blood donor in well equipped premises, which is free from transfusion transmitted infections, and is stored and transported under optimum conditions and transfusion under supervision of trained personnel for all who need it irrespective of their economic or social status through comprehensive, efficient and a total quality management approach.

To achieve the above aim, the following objectives are drawn:

1.       To firmly reiterate the govt. commitment to provide safe and adequate quantity of blood, blood components and blood products.

2.       To make available adequate resources to develop and reorganize the blood transfusion services in the entire country

3.       To make latest technology available for operating the blood transfusion services and ensure it’s functioning in an updated manner.

4.         To launch extensive awareness programs for donor information, education, motivation, recruitment and retention in order to ensure adequate availability of safe blood.

5.       To encourage appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products.

6.       To strengthen the manpower through human resource development.

7.       To encourage Research and Development in the field of Transfusion Medicine and related technology.

8.       To take adequate regulatory and legislative steps for monitoring and evaluation of blood transfusion services and take steps to eliminate profiteering in blood banks.

The need to spread voluntary blood donation movement to states lagging behind by involving the youth and networking of blood bank branches were among the main issues discussed at the three-day program.

Transfusion Transmitted Infections will top the agenda while talking about safe blood transfusion which includes a number of infectious diseases (such as HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, among others) can be passed from the donor to recipient. This has led to strict human blood transfusion standards in developed countries. Standards include screening for potential risk factors and health problems among donors and laboratory testing of donated units for infection.

Among the diseases than can be transmitted via transfusion are:
.       HIV-1 and HIV-2
.       Human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2)
.       Hepatitis A can be transmitted in blood
.       Hepatitis C virus
.       Hepatitis B virus
.       West Nile virus (all units of blood in the U. S. are screened for this virus.)
.       Treponema pallidum (the causative agent of syphilis, usually used as more of a screening test for high risk lifestyle, the last case of transfusion transmitted syphilis was in 1965.)
.       Malaria – Donors in the United States and Europe are screened for travel to malarial risk countries, and in Australia donors are tested for malaria.
.       Chagas Disease – A screening test has been implemented for this disease in the United States, but is not yet required.
.       Variant Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease or "Mad Cow Disease" has been shown to be transmissible in blood products. No test exists for this, but various measures have been taken to reduce risks.
.       Some medications may be transmitted in donated blood, and this is especially a concern with pregnant women and medications such as Avodart and Propecia.
.       Cytomegalovirus or CMV is a major problem for patients with compromised immune systems and for neonates, but is not generally a concern for most recipients.

Blood which tests positive for any of the diseases it is tested for is discarded.

Earlier this National Orientation cum Training Program on Blood Safety was inaugurated by Director Health Services, U.T. Chandigarh.

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