Expanding the Bombay blood group network

Sankalp India Foundation has an Emergency Team which works to ensure that people who do not find blood from the blood banks are helped. The team works on corner cases of blood transfusion medicine and extremely rare blood group requests. The team has been handling BBG requests for last 6 years.

In 2011-12 the organisation received requests for 68 units of Bombay blood group for 28 patients. In 2012-13 the number of requests rose to 118 units of blood for 56 patients. These numbers only include the requests where we were able to help. The organisation took up Bombay blood group requests from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Pondicherry.

While the organisation did manage to help with these BBG requests, it was possible only because of collaborative effort of the donors, blood banks and volunteers. The following were the key observations while we made attempts to manage BBG requests:

Not all blood banks are doing enough BBG tests. BBG donors have donated several times before being detected and informed.

  • In 2012-14, we have had 7 instances of incorrect detection of blood group followed by wrong transfusions causing severe haemolytic reaction and complications.
  • Several small lists of BBG donors were being maintained. Sub-critical mass leading to staggered availability.
  • The good donors, who donated regularly were being called by everyone emotional blackmail was rampant!
  • Blood banks found it difficult to make use of the unit of BBG if they collected.
  • Donors found it difficult to get themselves and their families checked for BBG.

BBG is extremely rare. Donors are few and with better knowledge and awareness more patients in need of blood are being detected with BBG. Sankalp India Foundation organised a meeting of BBG donors and blood bankers to find a solution and this led to the creation of www.bombaybloodgroup.org - the one stop site for all matters relating to BBG.

The website serves 3 purposes. It enables:
  • FOR NEEDY: Any hospital/blood bank in the country to place a request for BBG. Within few minutes the best possible option to get the units is made available.
  • FOR BLOOD BANKS: The blood banks to report any BBG units available on shelf. This ensures that the next person who is in need of this rare blood group immediately get's to know where the blood unit is available on the shelf.
  • FOR DONORS: The coming together of all individuals with BBG (whether they are blood donors or not) from across the nation on a single platform.

The building up of community of BBG donors ensures that the matters of greatest importance of people with this blood group get attention.

The success of the network with the blood banks in Karnataka prompted us to expand the network to more states. Currently we are in the process of inviting the participation of blood banks from Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Tamil Nadu. In a phase-wise manner blood banks from other states will also be invited. We hope to spread awareness about this rare blood group in every blood bank and build a strong database of blood donors. With systematic management and good coordination between all stakeholders this promises to be the hope not just for people with Bombay blood group, but subsequently for all other are blood groups as well.

For more information email sankalp.admin@gmail.com or visit www.bombaybloodgroup.org.
Patrika Section