National blood policy

  • The Union Health Ministry took the decision on Friday as part of reforms to the handling of blood units in the country. In a major modification to the National Blood Policy, blood banks will now be able to borrow units from one another in case of a shortage.
  • In India, NACO implements the National Blood Safety Programme.
  • A shortage of blood units has been a recurring problem since the Supreme Court, on January 1, 1998, banned paid donation
  • The government has been encouraging voluntary donation ever since. Despite getting most of our requirements from donors, the inability of the banks to lend each other surplus units was a major hurdle. This will help us phase out replacement donation eventually,
  • According to the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India has 2,760 licensed blood banks. A 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report said nine million of 12 million blood units needed annually in India were collected through voluntary donation.
  • When the Supreme Court banned paid donation, the government was mandated, under the National Blood Policy (2002), to phase out replacement donation in five years. However, since few people donate blood regularly, hospitals ask family members of patients to donate blood so as to pre-emptively replace the blood withdrawn from the blood bank.
  • The National and State Blood Transfusion Councils were established in the 1990s to promote voluntary donations. There are three kinds of blood banks — government, private and those run by NGOs. Other than the non-governmental blood banks, the rest are linked to hospitals.

Background

  • Blood transfusion service is a vital part of the National Health Service (NHS) and there is no substitute for human blood and its components. Increasing advancement in the field of transfusion technology has necessitated to enforce stricter control over the quality of blood and its products.
  • In most of the developed countries, the blood banking system has advanced in all facets of donor management, storage of blood, grouping and cross matching, testing of transmissible diseases, rationale use of blood and distribution.
  • The government has the full responsibility for the blood programme even though, in some countries, the management of blood transfusion services are delegated fully or partly to an appropriate non-governmental organisation (NGOs) working on a non-profit basis, eg. Red Cross Society.
  • When a NGO is assigned this responsibility, the government should formally recognise it and give a clear mandate formulating the national blood policy. It is important to consider policy decisions enforcing appropriate regulations or necessary functions of health service to ensure high quality service and safe blood.
  • Consequent to a public litigation case recently, Supreme Court of India directed central government to enact a comprehensive legislation on blood banks in collection, storage, testing and distribution of blood and its components. In this context, the office of Drugs Controller General of India made draft rules to further amend the existing law in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rules there under to meet the direction of the Supreme Court.

National blood policy

  • Government of India published the National Blood Policy in the year 2002.
  • The objective of the policy is to provide safe, adequate quantity of blood, blood components and products.
  • The main aim of the policy is to procure non remunerated regular blood donors by the blood banks.
  • The policy also addresses various issues with regard to technical personnel, research and development as well as to eliminate profiteering by the blood banks by selling blood.
  • The policy also envisages that fresh licenses to stand alone blood banks in private sector shall not be granted and renewal of such blood banks shall be subjected to thorough scrutiny.

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