Friday February 23, 2018

In India, Blood Transfusions are affecting people with HIV

As per the HIV Estimation Report (2015), 21.17 lakh people are presently living in the country with HIV/AIDS

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Blood transfusion. Image source: ww.dailytech.com
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  • India’s blood donation system has recently suffered a major setback due to reduced funding and growing self-approbation
  • As per the HIV Estimation Report (2015), 21.17 lakh people are presently living in the country with HIV/AIDS
  • Paying blood donors is banned in India, but it is rampant in the country and makes up as the fuel to a lucrative blood business in the black market

2234 people in the last 17 months have contracted HIV because they were so sick they needed blood.

The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) has revealed the information in response to an RTI petition filed by information activist, Chetan Kothari, said a BBC Report.

According to the RTI reply, Uttar Pradesh makes up the highest number of patients infected with HIV through transfusion of contaminated blood in hospitals with 361 cases, followed by Gujarat with 292 cases and Maharashtra with 276 cases. The Capital Delhi alone has registered 264 cases as of yet.  States like Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim have zero reports.

Kothari says he was “shocked” by the information his query brought out. He added, “This is the official data, provided by the government-run NACO. I believe the real numbers would be double or triple that.”

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As per the HIV Estimation Report (2015), 21.17 lakh people are presently living in the country with HIV/AIDS. With this, India constitutes the world’s third largest population of people affected by HIV. The other two leading the numbers are South Africa (68 lakhs) and Nigeria (34 lakhs).

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Despite many efforts, blood transfusion remains a source of HIV infection globally, with its incidence varying between high-income and low-income countries. In India, shortage of several million blood units occurs every year, with only 1% being the rate by which HIV infection through blood transfusion has decreased lately.

According to the Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, dated 2014, Volume 58, Issue 5, the government has set standards for safe blood transfusion but these suffer a heavy lack of proper implementation.

“There are private labs which also conduct these tests but they charge hefty amounts. Therefore, it is not possible for poor people to get it done,” said Kothari.

The law in India makes it mandatory for hospitals to screen both the donors and the donated blood and check for HIV, hepatitis B and C, malaria, syphilis, and other such infections.”But each such test costs 1,200 rupees and most hospitals in India do not have the testing facilities. Even in a big city like Mumbai, only three private hospitals have HIV testing facilities. Even the largest government hospitals do not have the technology to screen blood for HIV,” said Kothari.

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A larger section of people coming from the lower strata donates blood to earn immediate money. Even though payment to blood donors is banned in India, this section makes up as the fuel to a lucrative blood business in the black market.

Other than blood banks, hospitals often ask families of patients to get donors so they can stock up for a later need of blood transfusion. Ideally, all blood banks must examine the donor’s medical history and the presence of any chronic illness. They must compulsorily counsel the donors and finally check the donated blood during the entire process of blood donation. There is also a ‘window period’ when a donor might not test positive for weeks even after being affected by HIV. However, there are tests to reduce the same and accelerate the donation procedure, but costs are high.

There are state-run and national level NGOs that volunteer and set up blood donation camps across with the help of social service enthusiasts and prominent activists. “I am required to look for at least 18-19 donors a day as an intern at the primary level,” said Nidhi Tripathi, who works with The Saviour NGO in Kolkata. The organisation has arranged “over 500 donors in an emergency, registered over 20,000 people as emergency blood donors and conducted many blood donation camps in public.”

India’s blood donation system has recently suffered a major setback due to reduced funding and growing self-approbation. “More blood donation campaigns with a stringent safety-checking mechanism needs to be promoted,” says Dr N. Alam, a Homeopath physician, based in Patna.

According to officials, the decrease in the number of newer infections has led to funding being reduced over the years. Also, in the last two years, widespread deficiencies of stocks of important drugs and testing kits have resulted due to bureaucratic delays having “little or no accountability.”

 While it becomes absolutely essential to strengthen the screening process of blood donors, it is also vital for the government to pay heed to funds in the health sector.

“The central and the state government need to coordinate and bring out a measure so that these things are made available to the poor,” said Kothari.

-by Maariyah Siddiquee, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid

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  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    The government would have to work on such cases. Medical negligence and rackets lead to loss of lives. They have to inquire into such issues seriously.

  • AJ Krish

    I don’t get it.Background detailing and testing has to be done for blood donation to prevent transmission of HIV through contaminated blood.Yet the government fails to provide the necessary support that is needed to do all the tests and these tests ain’t that cheap.This is a matter of grave consequence as HIV is feared and dreaded by all .The government has to rise to the occasion.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Before even donors donate blood, there should be a check up. Eligible people should be allowed and people having blood related issues should be prevented from donating it.

  • devika todi

    the government needs to look into such issues carefully. negligence on such grounds can even lead to loss of lives.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    The government would have to work on such cases. Medical negligence and rackets lead to loss of lives. They have to inquire into such issues seriously.

  • AJ Krish

    I don’t get it.Background detailing and testing has to be done for blood donation to prevent transmission of HIV through contaminated blood.Yet the government fails to provide the necessary support that is needed to do all the tests and these tests ain’t that cheap.This is a matter of grave consequence as HIV is feared and dreaded by all .The government has to rise to the occasion.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Before even donors donate blood, there should be a check up. Eligible people should be allowed and people having blood related issues should be prevented from donating it.

  • devika todi

    the government needs to look into such issues carefully. negligence on such grounds can even lead to loss of lives.

Next Story

Coca-Cola plans to break into Indian ‘fruit circular economy’

According to Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India with its focus on the 'fruit circular economy' will enable the growth in demand for fruits which in turn would improve the farm practices and increase the farmer income

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The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice.
The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice. Wikimedia Commons
  • Coca-Cola is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice
  • The company plans to launch fruit juices based on the regional preferences
  • The company’s focus on fruit beverages is in line with its philosophy of ‘beverage for life’

Expanding its fruit-based beverage offerings, frozen fruit dessert, getting into dairy based value-added products and also exporting those products developed in India, are some of the plans of Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd, said a top company official.

He said the company’s focus will be on ‘fruit circular economy’– enabling farmers to increase their yield, source pulp and launch fruit-based products.

The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice.

“We are in the process of developing different fruit beverages including based on regional fruits and would soon be launching them.

“Similarly we will also expand our portfolio of fruit flavoured sparkling drinks like Fanta.

Also Read: Tune into a healthy lifestyle with these natural sweeteners

“After successful piloting of our frozen fruit dessert in Bengaluru, we will launch the product in major cities this April,” T. Krishnamukar, President, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia told select media here late on Thursday.

He said the company plans to launch fruit juices based on the regional preferences. For instance, the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect.

Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand.
Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand. Wikimedia Common

“We are also working on a product based on gooseberries,” he added.

According to him, the company has tied up with Jain Irrigation that operates fruit pulping plants in different regions.

“We have tied up with Jain Irrigation for sourcing and pulping mango fruit. Similarly, we have a tie-up with that company for oranges in Maharashtra.

“We expect Jain Irrigation may start setting up an orange pulping plant and the first commercial orange pulp may be available sometime in 2020,” Krishnakumar added.

Also Read: Prepare these Amazing Cocktails for a tipsy Winter

He said the company’s focus on fruit beverages is in line with its philosophy of ‘beverage for life’ meaning to have a product for people in different age groups.

“The philosophy now is to make the company bigger than the Coca-Cola brand.

Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand,” he said.

According to Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India with its focus on the ‘fruit circular economy’ will enable the growth in demand for fruits which in turn would improve the farm practices and increase the farmer income.

the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect.
the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect. Wikimedia Commons

“We felt we should be more relevant to the local community. Tastes, views vary based on regions. So we have to move globally to local and local to global,” he said.

The company will launch the local fruit beverages-including the mango beverage- under the Minute Maid brand.

“The fruit pulp content will be between 10 percent to 25 percent in such drinks,” Krishnakumar added.

He said the research and development (R&D) work for new products is being done in India and also in Shanghai in China.

Speaking of exports, he said the company has started exporting Indian brands like the carbonated drink ThumsUp and masala soda RimZim to Bangladesh and later to Sri Lanka, Bhutan and other markets.

Also Read: Five Benefits of Honey and Lemon Drink that Can’t be Ignored

“We want to build on Indian brand as a billion dollar beverage brand. We are not shipping the end product but the formula, brand and related matters,” he said.

Speaking of the sugar content in the company’s beverages, Krishnakumar said work in on to reduce the sugar content in its drinks and in five years time the beverages sold by the company will have far less sugar content than what it currently has.

On the foray into the dairy products segment, Krishnakumar said during the second half of the current year the company would launch the value-added dairy product. (IANS)