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Government of Bihar signs MoU with IRCS

MoU being exchanged between Secretary Health, Bihar Government (Left) and Honorary Secretary, IRCS with Chief Minister, Bihar, Nitish Kumar in foreground (right).
IRCS will take responsibility for the development, management, and functioning of all facilities and services regarding operationalization of blood banks

By Aditya Malaviya

PATNA, Bihar, June 24 2009 -
To meet the ever increasing demand for safe blood in Bihar, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Government of Bihar and Indian Red Cross Society, Bihar State Branch (IRCS), agreeing to operationalise government blood banks in 17 districts of Bihar.

The memorandum was signed in the presence of Honorable Chief Minister, Health Minister of Bihar and Minister of State, Health on 10th of June, 2009. The MOU will be valid for a period of one year, further extendable for a period of two or more years, subject to concurrence of both parties.

In Phase-1, by 30th June, 2009, eight blood banks: Sadar Hospital- Muzaffarpur, Chapra, Siwan, Samastipur, Ara, Munger, Madhubani and Buxar and by 31st July, 2009, nine blood banks at Sadar Hospital in the districts of Begusarai, Hajipur, Bihar Sharif, Bettiah, Khagaria, Sitamarhi, Gopalganj, Aurangabad and Lakhisarai - will be operationalised.

The development, management, and functioning of all facilities and services regarding operationalization of these blood banks will be the responsibility of IRCS. However, the overall ownership shall be of the State Government.

Increased demand for safe blood

Bihar has been witnessing a huge upsurge in people accessing government health services over the past few years. This is evident at government health facilities across all levels, be it at district, block or village-level. The long queues at OPDs and filled in-patient wards are just one manifestation of this surge.

The number of deliveries that took place in government facilities was 11-lakh in 2008-09, another pointer to the increased rise in institutional deliveries in the state. Five to fifteen percent delivery cases at any given moment require a caesarean section, which in turn adds to the demand of safe blood.

Blood is also required for other operative procedures conducted at these facilities. In blood transfusions, blood safety is very essential, and includes blood grouping and multiple testing to ensure that blood is free of infectious agents like HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Malaria and Syphilis.

UNICEF, in partnership with Government of Bihar, undertook a facility assessment survey of all blood banks of Bihar. The report brought out the gaps and suggested recommendations for improving service delivery.

Government, IRCS to work in tandem

IRCS, through its district branches, will manage the recruitment of doctors, lab technicians and nurses, 24-hour electricity supply, blood bank equipment, adopt standard blood transfusion procedures, and promote voluntary blood donation involving local bodies. The State Health Society (SHSB), Bihar, and Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS), shall provide adequate funds and technical support for these services.

The scheme will ensure adequate blood availability in these blood banks and subsequently in blood storage centres for functionality of FRUs. UNICEF has provided technical support at various stages in this endeavor.



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