Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan inaugurated the state of the art Regional Blood Center Muzaffarabad at Abbass Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) Muzaffarabad along with German Ambassador Martin Kohler on December 11th, 2018. The Muzaffarabad Blood Center is one of the 10 RBCs developed by the German government as part of the first phase of establishing of a nationwide network of 10 modern blood centers and an up-grade of 60 existing hospital based blood banks nationwide.
The total budget of the AJK Blood Transfusion Programme in Phase I was Rs. 147.80 million. Additional budget of Rs. 87.838 million has been committed for Phase II of the project by the government while the donor funding is 0.98 million Euros from the German partners. The RBC Muzaffarabad covering an area of 10,030 sq. ft. is successfully working and has a capacity for the collection of 20,000 donations per year. The RBC is fully linked to one BB only and has partial linkage with CMH and other HBBs. The RBC also has a Thalassaemia Center in its premises. The state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, having an area of 13,297 square kilometers, lies in the North East of Pakistan and North West of India. The population growth rate is 2.41%, infant mortality rate is 62/1000 (59 in Pakistan), maternal mortality rate is 201/100,000 (260 in Pakistan), population per doctor is 4799 (1,127 in Pakistan) and population per bed is 1,368 (1,786 in Pakistan).
The blood transfusion services are an integral component of the AJK Department of Health’s policy. BT services are provided by public sector hospitals and NGO sector blood banks mostly catering to the needs of the thalassaemia patients. The Central Blood Transfusion Services (CBTS) provide consumables to the blood banks in the ten DHQ Hospitals and infrequently organize capacity building workshops for the technical staff.
One of the key issues in the AJK BTS has been the weak regulation and governance of the system. Lack of coordination in activities also existed with an impact on the adequacy and sustainability of the blood supply. The AJK government passed an Act in 2003 to regulate and strengthen the blood system but the Act was not enforced in its true spirit until recently. Since 2010, the government has been implementing the blood safety reforms in the state through the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme co-funded by the Governments of Germany and Pakistan. The health department has invested significant efforts in the pursuit of wide-ranging reforms of their blood sector including the construction of a modern Regional Blood Centre in Muzaffarabad and installation of equipment in six attached hospital blood banks.