Blood bag shortage intensifies


The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has run further into trouble owing to equipment running out.

Director NBTS, Dr. Lakshman Edirisinghe on Friday (6), lamented that the shortage in Triple Blood Bags (TBB) is contributing to the depletion of Double and Quadruple Blood Bags (QBB).

TBB are designed to separate whole blood into three blood components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma. QBB are designed to collect whole blood to be separated into four different components which are red blood cells, plasma platelets and cryoprecipitate or leukocytes. These are mainly used in blood transfusions for cancer and thalassemia patients.

The stocks being used at present are also from Europe, Japan and Singapore. “We may not be able to even purchase stocks with the Indian Credit line,” he observed.

The NBTS chief said that with the shortage of TBB, the NBTS had been forced to reach out for its stocks of Double and QBB causing further shortage. The NBTS has appealed for donations as it would help thousands of lives.

The QBB is an imported item and cannot be purchased from just anywhere. Sri Lanka’s blood transfusion service has earned recognition and the transfusion bags meet the recognition of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Europe.

Dr. Edirisinghe said however that he is hopeful of receiving about 45,000 blood bags by the end of next week and a stock of TBB by the end of May or early June. The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) is also working towards replenishing its supply of blood bags, the NBTS chief added.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne