Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Government of West Bengal to formalize its support to set up a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine at Kolkata, here today. Government of India has approved this important initiative with an outlay of approximately Rs.200 Crores towards equipment, manpower and running costs. The land for this initiative will be provided free of cost by the State government. The move intends to strengthen the blood transfusion services in the State and the surrounding region. R K Vats, Additional Secretary (Health) and Anil Verma, Principal Secretary Health, Government of West Bengal signed the MoU on behalf of their respective Ministries.
Metro Blood Bank Project is conceived to be a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to set up state-of-the-art Centres of Excellence in transfusion medicine in the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. These centres are high volume blood collection centres where there is state-of-the-art technology in transfusion medicine for component separation, processing of blood and quality systems. Facilities for screening of collected blood by NAT would be made available at these centres and also extended to the other blood banks of the State.
Approval of Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has been accorded for the first phase, wherein these facilities are to come up in Chennai and Kolkata. National Blood Transfusion Council under National AIDS Control Organization will be the implementing division of the Ministry for this project. The MoU for setting up the Metro Blood Bank in Chennai has already been signed on 14th June 2016.
India collects near about 11 million blood units every year. Nearly 71% of these blood donations are collected through voluntary non-remunerated donors. A recently concluded assessment of licensed Blood Banks of India revealed that the average blood donation rate in India is 0.8, which is lower than many high income countries leading to a shortfall in quantum and access to safe blood in select hard-to-reach areas of the country. Rational use of blood also needs to be ensured to enhance utilization, as one unit of blood can benefit more than one beneficiary through separation into red cells, plasma, platelets.