Blood is essential to life. Across the world, thousands die every year for the lack of blood when needed. Many countries do not have blood banks, the repositories of blood.
Good news is that India’s blood donation and availability is way better than that of sub-Saharan Africa or South America. Bad news is that the situation is still way behind that of the developed countries.
But a report by the TOI claims that around 28 lakh units of blood and its components have gone to waste in the last five years.
The report says that when measured in liters, the wastage comes to a staggering 6 lakh liters.
The wastage is particularly worrying because according to the report India faces a shortfall of 3 million units of blood annually.
TOI report says that the wastage came to light following an RTI query by petitioner Chetan Kothari following which National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) provided the data.
The states where blood was discarded the most were Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu because even plasma could not be used before their expiry date.
One problem, as told to TOI by experts from the medical field, was the surplus of blood accumulated in blood camps. A 2016 Lok Sabha question brought to light the lack of blood banks in some districts in the country with Chhattisgarh topping the list.
On the other hand, officials in Maharashtra said that wastage can be because of a health plan which ensures that blood is kept in storage centers in internal areas for emergencies.
Plasma has a shelf life of one year whereas whole blood and RBCs expire in 35 days.