The Sorry State Of The Blood Mobile ...

Is the hightech mobile blood bus (acting as mobile blood bank) proving to be a white elephant for the Banaras Hindu University? Till date, the bus has not moved out of the BHU campus and the coverage of blood donation campaigns have been restricted to the varsity campus only.

The state-of-the art and fully air conditioned mobile blood bus was left stranded on the rear side of Sir Sunder Lal (SSL) Hospital on the World AIDS Day. Besides, the condition of the van was enough to raise the million-dollar question on when it would finally move out of the BHU campus to spread awareness about safe blood donation and prevent HIV infection in other parts of the region.

”Initially, there was no permission to run the bus outside the campus. Now the matter has been lingering with the road transportation office (RTO) even after physical verification of the condition of the bus more than a month ago,” said KK Gupta, in-charge of Blood Bank, BHU.

The start-of-the-art bus was provided by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to BHU administration last year (2010) for carrying safe blood donation camps in different parts of the district besides raising awareness about preventive measures to check HIV infection. As per recent reports of NACO, more than 75% of HIV infection spreads through unsafe blood transfusion.

The nightmares of the hightech bus have continued ever since it came to the BHU campus and it has struggled to move out of the campus in the past one year. Despite untiring efforts of Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and varsity administration, the bureaucratic hurdles have put brakes on the wheels of the bus.

When contacted, IMS director TM Mohapatra also said a number of letters had been moved to NACO and UP state AIDS control society (UP SACS) for granting permission to move the bus outside the campus, but the work lingered due to one reason or the other. ”We have intensified efforts to make the bus reach nearby villages and other parts of the district,” he added.

It is also worth mentioning that while the bus was handed over to BHU administration a year ago, the provisions of equipping it with required manpower including driver, cleaner and maintenance staff have been lacking. The varsity administration has not only looked after the operation and maintenance of the bus, but even the provision of fuel (diesel) has been made from its fund to help it move within the campus.

Each day, the bus is made to move at least two metres in to and fro to help charge the battery. If the process is not followed, not only will the battery get discharged but the high power A-C system could also collapse. More than a month has passed since the RTO office made physical verification of the condition of the bus, but the process of granting permission to run the vehicle outside the campus have not been expedited.

The bus is fully air-conditioned and equipped with facilities to allow as many as four units of blood donation simultaneously. It is also equipped with refrigeration unit to allow safe storage of blood collected through blood donations. It could be carried to any parts of the district to ensure safe blood donation on the site. Besides four cushioned chairs for blood donation, a separate chamber is provided for relaxing and making preparation for blood donation. The high power batteries drive the in-built power system besides keeping the AC on inside the bus.

The blame game is still on. Even as we talk about Varanasi, a thought lingers in the mind. Why is Karnataka’s blood mobile also suffering the same fate? Will someone wake up atleast now?

(Source: Times Of India)