August was a month of plenty in Bangalore - at least as far as blood is concerned. Unfortunately, still several blood donation camps are not carefully planned keeping in mind the demand of blood. When the colleges reopen after the summer vacation, there are several institutions who express desire to conduct camps. Most blood banks just choose to take up the opportunity to collect rather than engage with the organizers and attempt to better schedule the dates.
As a consequence there is large volume of blood collection. Independence Day drives don't make the situation any better. Worst of all are attempts by organizations to make records in blood collection. This leads to clustered donation camps.
While most blood banks have excess stocks, the suffering of the families is reducing only in the non-corporate hospitals. The corporate hospitals - who have their own blood banks - continue to put aside all the intent reflected in the national blood policy 2007 and seek replacement blood donors.
It is far more convenient for corporate blood banks to demand replacement donors be brought to their door steps rather than take the effort to participate in outdoor blood donation camps. Financially, of course they are at a gain because their cost of procurement of blood becomes bare minimum - though they continue to charge the highest permissible amount for blood. It is for this reason that even when the city has plenty of blood, helpless family members still keep looking for donors to come and donate blood in specific hospitals who refuse to accept blood from other blood banks. This blatant violation of the national policy is an open secret and the regulatory bodies conveniently look the other way - allowing the harassment of the families to continue.
A person who coordinates blood donation camps in his office twice a year had a family member admitted in one of the hospitals in the city. The patient needed B+ve. More than 1000 units were available in the city off the shelf. And yet, a corporate hospital on Banerghatta Road insisted that the family bring donors.
The man had to organize for 4 of his colleagues who work in ITPL to travel all the way to Banerghatta road and donate blood. The fact that the patient needed urgent treatment and the fact that the hospital would just not accept anything other than donors left him little choice. Thus 5 people missed the whole day of work.
While the corporate hospital had its agenda fulfilled and the show goes on, let there be no doubt about the kind of damage such events have on the availability of safe blood to the patients.
As a consequence of this event news has got back to the company that there is no point organizing camps as when someone is in need, anyways they are made to suffer. The people in the organization are taking about saving their blood for times of emergency rather than donate it freely for the unknown patients. The person who was organizing the drives does not know what to say.
The silence of the regulators is maintaining an uneasy calm in the system. While the corporate hospitals exploit the helpless patients and actually make profits from the donation of blood - the goal of 100% voluntary blood donation looks more like a slogan rather than backed by real intent. Profit for corporate seems to be winning battle against altruism and genuine intent to bring a solution to the problem of inadequacy of blood in our country.