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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 166-170

Impact of COVID-19 on blood transfusion services and strategies used in Kerala

Department of Transfusion Medicine and Clinical Lab, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Aboobacker Mohammed Rafi
Department of Transfusion Medicine and Clinical Lab, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/GJTM.GJTM_76_20

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Background and Objectives: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating major disruptions globally at all levels of health care. The novel challenges affecting the efficiency of blood transfusion services range from uncertain patterns of demand for blood components to reductions in the numbers of donations and staffing because of lockdown and quarantine.1 The authors attempt to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on blood transfusion services and the strategies used in the state of Kerala. Methods: A Google Form questionnaire was framed and was sent across all the blood centres in the state of Kerala through e-mail and other social media platforms; taking into account the various strategies taken to ensure a safe blood supply. Results: Only 28% rvesponded. 85% had reduction in blood. 99% had a specific COVID screening questionnaire. 80% had thermal screening and frequent cleaning. 35% used disposable bed sheets and implemented a token/prior appointment system. Only 10% conducted donation camps. 76% had shortage of staff due to lockdown. 90% had a shift system in the form of work arrangement. 35% were not provided PPE as they had shortage. 57% had a reduction in their salary. Only 7% blood centres faced shortage in consumables. 23% had an increased wastage in blood components and a few reagents. Only 7.5% of the centres were involved in CCP collection. 99% of the blood centres were willing to be part of CCP collection if the need arises. Conclusion: The BTS is responsible to provide an uninterrupted blood supply and it requires coordination at every level. Staff safety in the form of PPE and security in the form of salary should not be deprived of as health-care workers are the main pillars in the fight against COVID-19. The BTS in Kerala responded to the pandemic by strictly following the NBTC guidelines. When the need arises, the infrastructure at various blood centres has to be utilized so that the treatment outcomes of COVID-19 are also improved.

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