close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
April 4, 2020

SHC directs health department to arrange coronavirus test kits for registered blood banks

Karachi

April 4, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday directed the provincial health department to make efforts to arrange coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment that may be supplied to all the registered blood banks as a safety measure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The direction came on a petition seeking relaxation on restrictions imposed on the government-run and private blood banks during the lockdown regime so that they are able to meet the blood requirement for the patients of thalassaemia and other blood diseases who require blood transfusion.

The petitioner, M Tariq Mansoor, had submitted in the petition that the availability of blood was necessary for the medical treatment of thousands of innocent children and others suffering from thalassaemia, haemophilia and other diseases.

He had submitted that the Sindh government had imposed a lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19, which had been continuing since March 22 and was likely to be continued till April 12.

The petitioner had informed the SHC that there had been a severe shortage of blood for such patients as major sources of blood donations had been closed due to the lockdown.

He had submitted that as per media reports, a majority of the blood banks in Karachi, such as the Fatimid Foundation, Hussaini Blood Bank and Muhammadi Blood Bank, were in extreme shortage of blood and expected to run out of blood donations soon as they had recorded a decline of 50 per cent in blood donations after the lockdown.

The high court was requested to direct the federal and provincial governments to take immediate steps and grant exemption to the registered blood banks from the lockdown restrictions so that they could organise camps for the volunteers willing to donate blood in order to save the lives and health of thousands of children and other patients of various blood diseases across the province, including Karachi.

The health secretary filed a statement before the SHC, submitting that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, the health department had already issued instructions to the regional blood centres of the government running under the public private partnership mode to provide screened and safe blood transfusion services.

He submitted that the Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority director had also sent letters to the regional blood centres along with a list of thalassaemia centres in Sindh for similar actions. He said the home department was making all out efforts to address the difficulties being faced by the thalassaemia patients and instructions had been issued in this regard to all the relevant authorities.

The focal person for the home department, Abrar Ahmed, submitted that the home department had no objection to the operations of the blood banks if they adopted the precautionary measures against COVID-19 while collecting blood from donors.

He submitted that the department had also issued a clarification to the police, telling them to consider the blood bank services as essential services. Representatives of blood banks, however, informed the SHC that they were allowed to operate but some of their staff members were being stopped by the police.

An additional advocate general submitted that he would communicate to the home department that the employees of the registered blood banks may not be stopped if they showed their identity cards. A focal person for the Sindh inspector general of police also assured the SHC that the employees of the registered blood banks would not be stopped subject to their identification from the registered blood banks.

The petitioner pointed out that coronavirus kits and precautionary personal protective equipment had not been provided to the registered blood banks and expressed his fear that it would be a great danger for the thalassaemia patients if blood was transfused into them without being screened for coronavirus.

Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority Director Dr Dure Naz Jamal said the authority had already issued a standard operating procedure that had to be followed by the blood banks and donors were not allowed to donate blood if they had fever or flu or any significant health complications.

She said all the registered blood banks had already been advised to take the history of donors, including their recent travel history, before taking blood from him. A health department official submitted that the health department had already established 20 centres for coronavirus tests and they did not have enough resources to provide the same to the blood banks.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar directed the home department to examine such aspects and make some efforts to arrange coronavirus testing kits and PPE that may be supplied to all the registered blood banks as precautionary measures. Disposing of the petition, the high court directed the registered blood banks to contact the health department in this regard.