Banke faces blood shortage with only 150 pints left in stock

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By Siraj Khan,Nepalgunj, June 15: Banke, the health hub of the three provinces of western Nepal, is facing an acute blood shortage thanks to rising temperatures.

With only 150 pints of blood remaining in stock, local health officials are urgently requesting donations from organisations and the public to address this critical situation.

Upendra Regmi, head of the Nepalgunj Regional Blood Transfusion Centre of the Nepal Red Cross Society, informed that blood donations have decreased due to extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 44 degrees Celsius.

He noted that the heat has led to an increased demand for blood, while blood donations are decreasing, leading to a supply issue.

He informed that the blood transfusion centre has only around 150 pints of blood in stock from various groups.

He emphasised that fewer blood donations during festivals and the extremely hot weather have worsened the shortage. 

“Due to the imbalance in supply, it has been challenging to meet the demand for blood,” he added. 

The Provincial Blood Transfusion Centre stated that relatives of patients have had to arrange blood themselves due to insufficient supply in the blood bank, which relies on blood donations.

Doctors mentioned that because patients’ relatives have to search for blood themselves, in some cases, it takes a long time to obtain it, leading to worsening conditions of the patients.

According to the centre, there is a significant demand for regular blood, especially for patients with thalassemia and sickle cell who require frequent blood transfusions.

Regmi expressed his worries that the centre lacks sufficient stock to supply the necessary blood in case of a major accident. He mentioned, “When there's a demand for blood, due to insufficient stock, we have to ask patients’ relatives to manage the required blood.”

“Due to the lack of a blood donation programme that meets our needs, the patients’ relatives have to arrange the blood themselves,” he added. 

Due to the shortage of blood at the blood transfusion centre, repeated calls for blood donations have been made on social media. 

The Nepal Red Cross Society stated that having at least one thousand pints of blood in Banke would resolve the issue.

Govardhan Singh Samjhana, Chairman of Nepal Red Cross Society Banke, mentioned that despite expanding the blood bank capacity in Nepalgunj to store three thousand pints of blood, there is a supply issue due to insufficient blood donations. According to the Blood Transfusion Centre, Banke, including Nepalganj, Khajura and Kohalpur, requires at least 80 to 100 pints of blood daily. 

Meeting this demand requires daily blood donations to gather the necessary amount.

The Regional Blood Transfusion Centre in Nepalgunj supplies blood to hospitals in Nepalgunj, Kohalpur and Khajura.

According to the centre, it distributed 16,787 pints of blood in the fiscal year 2021/22 and 18,757 pints in 2022/23.

Similarly, 15,019 pints of blood have been distributed until the month of Baisakh in the current fiscal year. This data also confirms that the demand for blood is increasing each year.

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