Thousands of units of blood collected in the state is being detected with infections like HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. In Nagpur city alone, out of the about two lakh units of blood received through donation during the last two years, more than 1,500 units were found infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
These donors were not aware of their blood being infected. They were informed by their blood banks after their blood was tested in NAT-enabled facilities. Had these units remained undiagnosed, infections like HIV and Hepatitis would have spread among blood transfusion patients.
In a reply to an RTI query by social activist Raj Khandare, SBTC Information officer SD Sone has shared blood collection and infection data. In 2021, four government blood banks in Nagpur collected nearly 18,000 units and of them 161 were found infected with HIV, HBV or HCV.
Out of the nearly 85,000 units of blood collected by 13 private blood banks, 600+ were found infected. In the first 10 months of 2022, Nagpur blood banks collected nearly one lakh units of blood and 738 of them were found to be infected. “This RTI application was filed just to make it public that the blood collected in banks can be infected.
I will consider these donors lucky as they must have learned about their blood being infected through blood banks. But, this doesn’t happen with all,” said Khandare adding that the existing system can’t detect every infection. “The gold standard for this is NAT and every blood bank must have it.
If every donated unit undergoes NAT, many more infectious units will get detected,” Khandare said. A director of a private blood bank also backed NATenabled facility. “Government blood banks don’t have NAT facilities.
Select private banks have it. Maharashtra needs to improve on this front,” he said. States like Uttarakhand test each and every donated blood unit with NAT through outsourcing. A similar proposal is pending with Maharashtra government for more than a year now.