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India’s Covid-19 lockdown has worsened the shortages at blood banks

“I have been on the phone talking to people for the last two days. I have barely gotten any sleep or had a proper meal,” said 27-year-old Shreya Mitra, a social media executive from Kolkata. Mitra, who has thalassemia, a blood disorder in which the body produces less haemoglobin, needs a blood transfusion every 14-16 days. It took her four days to arrange the one unit of blood – around 500-600 ml – she needed for her transfusion on April 1.

“For the last 26 years, this has been my drill,” Mitra said, adding, however, that the lockdown has made things worse. After the area blood bank informed her transfusion centre it could not provide blood because of the lockdown, the centre held an emergency blood donation camp, but few donors came forward, Mitra told IndiaSpend.

The World Health Organisation recommends that the blood requirement of 1% of a country’s population be used as an estimate of its blood needs. By this measure, India was short of 1.9 million units of blood a year, according to an IndiaSpend article published in June 2018. Experts said this is because India does not have a system to manage blood banks and not many people…

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