As COVID-19 second wave causes blood donations to decrease in Gujarat, Thalassemia patients scramble to find blood
Blood donations: As the country is amid a severe second wave of coronavirus, patients of other illnesses are finding it harder to get access to medical resources. In Gujarat’s Vadodara and neighbouring towns, parents of a 9-year-old Thalassemia looked for a bottle of AB+ blood for six weeks to get the regular transfusion done for the girl. However, they were only able to procure the blood last week and by that time, her haemoglobin levels had dropped very low, according to a report in IE. At present, the city has about 100 Thalassemia patients who need regular transfusions.
The report cited Boond Thalassemia Foundation’s Anshul Goel, who had come to the parents’ aid and helped find a donor, as saying that her haemoglobin level had dropped to below seven by the time they were able to get the blood. Goel added that it has become very difficult for people to find donors due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inoculation drive, and the levels of blood available for patients have gone down dangerously low. He further said that this is a problem for people suffering from Thalassemia major or other diseases where transfusions are needed every few days.
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Now, his foundation is working with the partner blood bank Vadodara-based Shree Jalaram Blood Bank to organise a blood donation drive. The drive would be held at the Parsi Agyiari compound on May 30, with an aim to collect a minimum of 50 units of blood to help patients suffering from the disease.
Goel said that they hope to gather as many donors as possible while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols, and asserted that while the aim of the foundation is to collect blood for patients of Thalassemia, any patient in need of blood would be able to reach out to them.
Talking about the reasons behind the shortage, he said that the government guidelines that have told people to not donate blood for 14 days after getting vaccinated is a reason behind the shortage. Apart from that, he said that since the holy month of Ramzan was also going on, many regular donors from the Muslim community could not donate blood due to their month-long fast. But, he has expressed hope that in the upcoming weeks, things will get a little easier.
The report also cited Vadodara city BJP president Dr Vijay Shah, who operates the Indu Blood Bank, as saying that during the pandemic, the number of voluntary donors went down drastically, as the guidelines were not allowing people to gather at blood donation camps. Shah added that while they organised 75 small camps, they were not able to meet the need because there has been an increase in demand for blood recently. He also said that the increased demand could also be due to non-COVID-19 hospitals taking up the surgeries that they had earlier postponed because of the second wave.
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