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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 215-217

Impact of COVID-19 outbreak in blood transfusion services in India: Experience from tertiary care blood centres in Kerala: A short review

1 Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Transfusion Medicine, Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanooja Pinki
Department of Transfusion Medicine, Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/GJTM.GJTM_36_20

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Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) in India faced numerous challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak and the following imposed country lockdown. We aim to identify the challenges faced by selected blood centers and explore the mitigation strategies implemented during the COVID 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Diminished donor inflow, lack of uniform donor selection criteria during the initial period, fear of COVID-19 spread to blood donors and staff personnel, shortage of available blood units, staff personnel transportation, handling of medical records, and concerns about transfusion-transmitted COVID-19 were the major challenges faced in our blood centers. Personal invitation of donors, public announcements, and in-house donation drives were implemented to improve donor inflow. Institute level donor selection protocol was developed and followed before the national guidelines were established. Restricted donor entry, stringent donor selection, and adequate sanitization strategies were the key steps adopted to ensure the safety of donors and staffs. In the interim, there was a reduction in blood unit requirement due to reduced patient inflow. Staff duty pattern was allocated on a rotation basis. The novel standard operating procedure was developed and implemented for handling COVID-19 positive or suspected blood samples. BTS should always be vigilant to adopt new practices even before guidelines are set by regulatory authorities and are liable to follow the guidelines. Restrictive blood transfusion strategies need to be emphasized in the country.

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