The Punjab Health Minister, Khawaja Salman Rafique, and German Ambassador, Ina Lapel, recently inaugurated a modern Regional Blood Centre (RBC) in Bahawalpur developed with the German government grant through KfW-German Development Bank and the EPOS-implemented “Safe Blood Transfusion Project”.
This Regional Blood Centre is among 10 Centres developed with the German government grant of Rs.2 Billion (15 million Euro) as part of the establishment of a nationwide network of 10 modern blood centres and renovation of 59 existing hospital based blood banks throughout the country in the first phase of the project. The second phase of the project has now started in which the scope and coverage will be expanded with continued Germen support. In Punjab, during the Phase II, a new Centre will be developed in Faisalabad and the renovation of blood banks in Mayo and Jinnah Hospitals in Lahore will also take place in addition to strengthening of the existing private sector blood banks.
The population of Punjab is approximately 100 million and has 36 administrative districts, comprising over 50% of the population of Pakistan. The large public sector blood banks are under the administrative control of the Institute of Blood Transfusion Services (IBTS) and the other public sector hospital blood banks are managed by the district health organization. In addition, the private sector blood banks also exist in the hospital, thalassemia centers and as stand-alone centers.
The RBC Bahawalpur serves as blood procurement and distribution centre ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities which involve mobilization and retention of voluntary and regular blood donors, maintenance of donor database, collection of blood donations as well as processing, screening, testing, component preparation and storage of the prepared components. A customized Management Information System has been especially procured by the Programme for the smooth functioning of the new system.
RBC Bahawalpur has a capacity of collecting 50,000 blood donations per year and is linked to 11 existing hospital blood banks of Bahawalpur. These eleven existing Hospital Blood Banks have been provided new equipment and the blood banks functionally re-modeled and converted into patient oriented hospital transfusion services to perform the function of storage, distribution, compatibility testing and haemovigilance. Other private and NGO sector hospitals of the region will also be provided blood components by this Centre.