Provincial blood transfusion authorities slumber

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Following the devolution of powers to the provinces under the 18th amendment, the health ministry and its attached departments were shifted to the federating units but in spite of the passage of so many years, the provincial blood transfusion authorities still remain virtually ineffective despite passage of laws by the provincial governments, thus exposing the patients to unsafe blood.
Blood can save life but if not screened it can also cause harm. The general purpose of the regulation of the blood transfusion sector is to guarantee the provision of safe and effective blood and blood components to patients who require transfusion.
Talking to Pakistan Observer Chairman Islamabad Blood Transfusion Authority Hassan Abbas Zaheer highlighted the main role and function of the authority saying its main role is to inspect and evaluate the blood banks in order to ensure that only safe blood reaches the patients. Every year, the authority re-inspects these blood banks in order to decide about the renewal of their licenses. He said Islamabad Blood Transfusion Authority issued nineteen licenses to different blood banks last year.
The chairman said these regulatory authorities also exist in all the provinces but these are not working in a structured manner. “The provincial governments have framed the relevant laws and also appointed their chairmen. Now it is the responsibility of those heading these authorities to fulfil their responsibility and do their work. If they do not perform their duties, it is the responsibility of the provincial governments to monitor their work and action if they are found failing the chairman said.
He said though the transfusion authorities in Punjab and Sindh are doing some work but not in a proper structured manner while situation in other provinces is far more depressing.
Hassan Abbass Zaheer said capitals blood transfusion authority is fulfilling its responsibility towards ensuring safety of blood transfusion. Over the last three years, it has worked in capacity building of blood banks and helped them remove their inadequacies and weaknesses. Similarly, he said our work is to build the capacity of provincial authorities. This authority is an autonomous regulatory body for both the public and private sectors, and in addition to oversight and control functions, it has assumed a steering role to guide the overall development of Blood Transfusion Services, in its jurisdiction, towards the highest possible standards. The Chairman said that in 2015, sixty five thousand units of blood were collected in the nineteen blood banks of the capital. Sixty five percent of these units were collected in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and Shifa International.

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