Who: National Blood Policy, 2002
What: Modified by Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
When: 19 October 2015
Why: For better blood utilisation
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 19 October 2015 modified National Blood Policy, 2002 to identify two major initiatives towards better utilisation of blood and blood components. These initiatives were recommended by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC).
The first is permitting the transfer of blood from one blood bank to another in case of shortage. This was not allowed earlier and will help in transfer of blood to places of scarcity and is part of reforms to the handling of blood units in the country.
The second is fixing an exchange value for surplus plasma available at some blood banks in the country. The exchange value is fixed at 1600 rupees per litre.
Further, the blood banks with surplus plasma can exchange it for consumables, equipments etc. or plasma derived products, as per their need. This exchange, however, cannot be in terms of cash.
The second step is expected to increase the availability of essential life saving medicines like human albumin, immunoglobulins, clotting factors, etc. which are all derived from plasma. This step would also reduce the country’s dependence on import of these products.
Need for such initiative
A shortage of blood units has been a recurring problem since the Supreme Court had banned paid donation on 1 January 1998 and had mandated government to phase out replacement donation in five years.
Accordingly, the National and State Blood Transfusion Councils were established in the 1996 to promote voluntary donations.
However, since few people donate blood regularly, hospitals ask family members of patients to donate blood so as to pre-emptively replace the blood withdrawn from the blood bank.
According to the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India has 2760 licensed blood banks.
About National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC)
NBTC is the apex body under the Ministry of Health for formulating policy matters pertaining to the organisation, operation, standards and training of a sustainable and safe blood transfusion service for the country.
It was set up under the directions of Supreme Court in 1996.