Tuesday, August 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Imported blood testing unit gathers dust
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 13
An imported blood component separation unit worth Rs 1 crore, the first of its kind in the state, has been lying idle at Guru Nanak Medical College here for the past three months for want of a meagre amount of Rs 2 lakh required for its installation. Amritsar is the only district selected by the National AIDs Control Organisation (NACO) on the basis of maximum units of bloods collected in blood banks.

Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, however, said he would visit Chandigarh next week for sanction of the required amount so that the unit could be installed at the earliest. He said there was a need for remodelling the building which would be done on a priority basis.

The installation of the unit is urgently required as the unit separates different components of blood in the shortest possible time. A unit of blood can be used for different patients suffering from various diseases by separating the blood components. For example, burn cases need only plasma and the rest of the blood can be used for other patients. Similarly, platelets alone are required for dengue patients and those suffering from other infections.

In normal course, blood testing requires at least 24 hours with the installation of the new unit, precious time would be saved.

A statistical analysis of the annual collection of blood for the year 2000 shows that out of 18,853 units, 14,985 were collected from Amritsar alone. The blood banks being run by the government here are responsible for catering to 72 private nursing homes and government-run hospitals. These banks charge Rs 330 and private blood banks Rs 930 for various blood tests.

During a visit to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital that is run by the Government Medical College, the blood component separation unit was found lying idle. Though the blood bank collects almost half of total fee from patients, yet little attention is being given to its infrastructure. Last month the bank collection was Rs 3.15 lakh. Insiders say if a month’s collection is spent on alteration of the bank building, the unit can be installed at once. However, files have been shuttling among different officials of the Health Department and despite repeated reminders, the unit has not been installed even after three months.

The NACO has not supplied CPD (blood collection bags) for the past more than two months. As a result, bags are being supplied at a cost of Rs 50 each by the District Red Cross Society. The Medical Superintendent claims that the Red Cross is supplying the bags on a no profit, no loss basis.

So much so the anti-sera solution used for blood grouping is out of stock. The Medical Superintendent arranges for the same on a daily basis. In case vials of anti-sera are not supplied from any quarter, the blood bank has to approach voluntary organisations like the Bharat Vikas Parishad for making arrangements for the same.

It may be mentioned here that the Blood Transfusion Department of the Medical College provides free blood to destitutes and needy persons. Pingalwara inmates, road accident victims, prisoners and thalassemics are given blood on a priority basis.

These categories received 1,200 units last year without replacement. As the number of patients are increasing every year, the demand for blood is also increasing. While in 1994 as many as 11,471 units were issued by the blood bank, the number rose to 14,985 in 2000.


2 LeT men held, 12 kg RDX seized

Lucknow, August 13
The Uttar Pradesh police tonight arrested two Lashker-e-Toiba militants, who had planned to strike on the eve of Independence Day, from cantonment area here and seized 12 kg of RDX and several weapons from them, a senior police official said.

The Special Task Force of the state police picked up Altaf Hussain Ali, alias Abdul Rehman of Ambedkar Nagar adjoining Faizabad district, and Salim Qamar of Azamgarh from near a petrol pump in the vicinity of the Army’s Central Command when the duo was moving in a minitruck.

The militants confessed during interrogation that they had planned to set off the explosives at strategic locations in the Capital and other parts of the state on the eve of Independence Day, Senior Superintendent of Police, B.B. Bakshi said. PTI

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