Bengaluru: “Pandemic just made the situation worse. Even before the onset of COVID-19, we were facing a major shortage of blood. People always struggled for blood during emergencies, Covid added to it,” said Alphonse Kurian, a member of Lions club, Sanjay Nagar.
The two years of COVID -19 have devastated life across the world. Millions have lost their lives and equal numbers have become destitute. Amidst this visible disaster, we might have failed to take note of a very vital issue: blood donation.
“People coming forward to donate blood in itself is a rare gesture. The pandemic simply contributed to worsening the situation,” said a worker at the Lions Blood Bank. During the time when everyone felt like they were imprisoned within the four walls of their homes, there was a big loss of life owing to the unavailability of blood.
“It was a difficult time. A blood bank runs purely with the support of donors. We faced a great crisis during the Covid time, as there was an acute shortage of blood,” said Deepak Suman, a blood coordinator for Lions Blood Bank, JN Nagar. “We had to wait for donors to visit the blood bank and donate blood. We even started pick-up and drop service to increase the engagement, yet there was hardly any movement during the pandemic. This was the situation during the first wave.”
Blood banks encouraged mass participation by way of Blood Mobile, “a process through which we went to a locality, searched for people who were eligible to donate and brought in at least 10 units. Eventually, such initiatives helped to improve the situation, said Mr. Deepak Kurian from Lions Blood Bank.
Asked which blood group faced the biggest shortage, he said that according to the experts, almost all the groups faced an equal share of problems and short supply during these times. “Every blood group faced the same problem. Even O+, of which we used to have at least 100 units, was reduced to 10 to 15 units,” said Mr. Kurian. “Amid this blood shortage, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy faced a big challenge,” he added. Adding to this, those suffering from Thalassemia, faced a major shortage of blood.