The construction of a regional blood centre will begin in Islamabad soon catering to patients not only from the twin cities but also KP and Punjab. This was said by Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP) National Coordinator Professor Hasan Abbas Zaheer. “The modern, well-equipped centre to be put up on the land provided by the Pakistani government with the German government’s financial assistance will serve as blood procurement and distribution centre for the entire Islamabad ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities which will involve mobilization and retention of voluntary and regular blood donors,” he told a World Blood Donor Day briefing organised by the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme at a local hotel.
Professor Hasan said as the country essentially relied on ‘family donors’ to sustain blood transfusion system, the promotion of voluntary blood donations was direly needed. “Family donation is not a desirable option as it places unnecessary burden on the already distressed families of the patients and therefore, our reliance should be on voluntary, regular blood donors to improve blood safety standards and transform the demand-driven system into a supply-driven system like the countries, which have efficient and well-functioning blood systems,” he said.
The SBTP coordinator said to access the potential voluntary donors, especially youths, the programme recently partnered with the global social media giant, Facebook, and launched a special blood donation feature for Pakistan. He said the Facebook feature enabled the people to sign up as blood donors and help connect with the people in need as well as blood centres.
“The organizations hosting blood camps can now create an event on Facebook and blood donors in close proximity to the event will be automatically notified. This is the first time that Facebook has launched any feature for Pakistan, which has its 40 million users.
The partnership with Facebook will compliment national efforts to promote blood safety,” he said. Professor Hasan said the programme had been implementing blood safety system reforms in the country since 2010 to improve the people’s access to safe blood for transfusion. He added that the blood supply system in the country was witnessing revolutionary developments with the successful implementation of the SBT project in which a network of modern regional blood centres had been developed through German support.
“This new infrastructure is now operational and is providing direct benefit to patients in the shape of safe blood components through hospital blood banks, which have been renovated by the programme,” he said.