Millennium Post

Election heat dries up blood banks in South Dinajpur

Balurghat: The election season witnesses massive campaigning with all eyes on political debates raging in every nook and corner of the country. This is also the time when health and awareness camps take a backseat as organisations involved with such programmes find it difficult to organise drives because of reduced turnout due to poll activities.

The ongoing election here in South Dinajpur has hit donation and availability of blood. Both blood banks in Balurghat and Gangarampur have been suffering as very few blood donation camps are being held by welfare organizations. According to an official source, no blood donation camp has been organised nearly for a month here.

"The shortage of blood has led to unprecedented pressure on relatives of patients. The crisis deepened since the Election Commission of India issued a directive barring political leader and the representatives of political parties from organising any camp during the polls," said a source of district health department adding that more than 80 per cent of their supply are being collected through voluntary collection.

During summers, blood banks face crisis and the stock dips by 30 per cent but at present the problem compounded because of the polls.

NGOs, social welfare organisations, local youth clubs or political parties are busy with campaigns and other poll-related activities.

"The election fever has taken a toll on blood collection resulting to an acute shortage of supply in the two principal state-run blood banks of Balurghat and Gangarampur. About 1,200 unit of blood is required every month at the blood banks for operations and blood transfusion for Thalassemia patients," said a source.

In Balurghat, at present, about 40 units of blood are stored. Of the 40 units, 16 units are for A positive group, one unit for A negative, 20 units for B positive, one unit for B negative and one unit for O positive group. There is no blood for AB and O negative groups in the district hospital. In Gangarampur sub-divisional hospital, the stock of blood is almost nil. The relatives of patients are being asked to arrange for donors. However, most of them are returning in empty-handed. The condition of other blood banks in the town is no better.

Chief medical officer of health (South Dinajpur) Dr Sukumar Dey said: "No major blood donation camp has being conducted during the last month because of the ongoing elections. We have appealed all the donors and social organisations to conduct blood donation camps to tide over the crisis."

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