Blood Bank in Dire Straits

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The severe shortage of reagents, consumables, and test kits at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) may hinder its ability to provide blood to hospitals for surgeries.

NBTS Director, Dr. Lakshman Edirisinghe, on Friday (1), lamented that the inability of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) to supply it with the required reagents, consumables, and tests kits had led to a crisis which would directly impact its ability to provide blood for all surgeries by next week. “We would have to prioritise the service and provide blood only for emergency surgeries, cutting down the provision of blood for routine surgical interventions,” he said.

The NBTS has been functioning with stocks of reagents, consumables, and test kits that were donated by well-wishers of the service till now. But those too have depleted and what remains would only last for a maximum two to three days unless the SPC gives it the needed supplies to provide the service without unwanted disruptions.

The Director said he had held several discussions with the Health Secretary, the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), and the SPC to rectify the situation, to no avail.

Dr. Edirisinghe said the present fuel crisis was also a severe blow to the service, as the NBTS was unable to conduct its mobile transfusion service. The mobile clinics and the laboratory services too have been disrupted by the fuel crisis, he added.

The NBTS Director said it had also impacted the blood donations that it was receiving and that there had been several cancellations, as the donors were unable to travel to clinics.    

By Dilanthi Jayamanne