Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: As the World observes the Blood Donor Day today, the grim fact to fore is Odisha has mere 1.8 blood banks per 10 lakh people.

For which, the State failed to figure among the top-20 States and UTs in the country that have more than 3 blood banks per 10 lakh population in the year 2018.  North-Eastern States like Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura were way ahead of Odisha in blood bank to population proportion.

As per the data available, Odisha has mere 83 blood banks in 2018.  The biggest fallout of fewer blood banks is the State had failed to meet the actual blood requirement of around 4.54 lakh units of blood last year. Data accessed revealed that the State could collect around 4.2-4.3 lakh units of blood during the year 2018.

This showed the blood availability in Odisha is in red, despite the collections of blood having increased by around 52 per cent from around 2.38 lakh units in 2013-14.

Sample how the blood banks in proportion to per 10lakh population fared district-wise in Odisha.

Districts like Ganjam, Kendrapara, Puri and Balasore have not even one blood bank per 10 lakh; whereas districts like Cuttack, Khurda (State headquarters) Kalahandi have only around 1 blood bank per 10 lakh population.

The northern Odisha districts like Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar have around 1.5 blood banks per 10 lakh population. Significantly, these are the districts that account for higher maternal mortality rate during child deliveries owing to high bleeding and unavailability of blood for transfusion.

Balangir has around 2.4 blood banks per 10 lakh, which is higher than the State average. In western Odisha, districts like Sundergarh and Bargarh have blood bank proportion below that of State average.

Overall, nearly 90 per cent districts in Odisha have blood banks - population proportion below the State average. This shows how acute is the blood availability crisis in Odisha. Significantly, data shows almost half of districts in State in most of the times didn't have ‘O’ blood-group, which is in maximum demand.

“Every year, Odisha records around 3,000 to 5,000 deaths due to unavailability of appropriate blood group and proper blood quantity. Last year nearly 30 per cent of complicated pregnancies were treated with blood transfusion, which implies how lack of blood could have triggered higher MMR in the State,” observed a senior official in the Health Directorate.

When such is the crisis, the State government here has no policy in place to boost blood collection in the State. Only political parties hold grand blood donation camps to boost their cadre strength.

An analysis shows how States with fewer government run blood banks have better efficiency in blood units collected.

Take the instance of Kerala. When Odisha has 63 government-run blood banks, Kerala has only 41 such blood banks. But the State has 5 blood banks per 10 lakh population compared to mere 1.8 per 10 lakh in Odisha. A similar trend is observed in all States with at least five blood banks per 10 lakh population. The good consequence, coincidentally, is all these States have surplus blood units vis-a-vis the WHO requirement norm for their respective States.