ISLAMABAD: The government has planned to upgrade 78 blood banks in all provinces to have standard blood transfusion services for citizens.
Project Director Safe Blood Transfusion Services Program, Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer talking to APP said that under the project 13 regional blood transfusion centres will be set up besides initiating programs to encourage people for blood donation.
He said there is also a plan to conduct national level survey to know the number of blood banks functioning in the country, their standard and services being provided at these banks.
He said after this survey the government will start working on streamlining these banks besides looking after others aspects like improving testing services, pricing etc. He said like other parts of the world, there is also a plan to have national level institution in the country to maintain the standard of blood banks.
He said there is no national voluntary blood donation program that could recruit and retain donors. He added efforts are being made to ensure access of every person to safe blood for transfusion.
He said 98 percent of blood donations in the country are from family donors giving blood as replacement to the ones transfused to their relatives or friends.
This situation needs to be changed as World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners discourage this form of donation while encouraging voluntary unpaid donations.
He said it is imperative that the national and provincial blood transfusion programs develop their own system and mechanisms of developing programs to encourage and retain voluntary blood donors and keep a regular supply of healthy blood for those in need of it.
He said WHO has been working with the national program since its inception on all issues of policy, advocacy, development of standards and protocols, training of health care providers, and monitoring and evaluation.
He said the WHO has mobilized funds for procurement of blood screening kits for HIV, hepatitis B and C worth USD 7.8 million which would be sufficient in providing free blood screening in all blood transfusion centers in the country for next two years.