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The blood management system needs a fresh infusion

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    6th Jan, 2024

Context

Prioritising access to blood and its products remains fundamental to building a resilient global health architecture

Building a Resilient Global Health Architecture:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the existing inequities in global publichealth, prompting policymakers worldwide to advocate for an enhanced global health architecture.
  • While strategies such as increased health financing and digital health solutions are crucial, this article emphasizes the fundamental importance of prioritizing access to blood and its products in strengthening global health systems.

The Issue of Blood Shortage

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recently highlighted global disparities in blood collection, revealing concerning patterns.
  • African nations, low-income, and lower-middle-income countries receive disproportionately low percentages of global blood donations compared to their populations.
  • India, despite improvements, still faces a chronic shortage, impacting critical health services.
  • In 2019-20, the country fell short of over six lakh blood units, endangering lives and affecting surgeries and transplants.

Advantages of a Hub and Spoke Model

  • To address blood shortages, robust public-private partnerships (PPP) are essential, with innovative models like the hub and spoke model showing promise.
  • In this approach, high-volume blood banks serve as hubs for smaller centers, optimizing blood distribution and reducing wastage due to short shelf life.
  • This model, especially relevant for resource-constrained settings, enhances accessibility and availability of blood products.

Data from Parliament indicates a surplus of 30 lakh blood units discarded over three years due to expiration and infections which can be addressed by hub and spoke model.

Dispelling Myths Around Blood Donation

  • Myths and misinformation hinder voluntary blood donation, contributing to the perpetuation of inequities in the blood management system.
  • Targeted awareness initiatives, combining government efforts with private sector collaboration, can dispel these myths.
  • Dedicated campaigns leveraging social media and innovative tools such as multi-lingual comics can engage diverse audiences, fostering a culture of informed and voluntary blood donation.

Way Forward: Strengthening the Blood Management Ecosystem

  • As we transition from the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing blood access is vital for a resilient global health architecture.
  • Political leaders and policymakers must continue strengthening the blood management ecosystem, considering it a cornerstone of modern medicine.
  • Proactive industry engagement and citizen participation are crucial components of this concerted effort.
  • By addressing blood shortages and dispelling myths, the global community can build a more equitable and sustainable future for healthcare.

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