South East Asia faces severe shortage of safe blood
- By: Rohit Sharma
South East Asia accounts for 25% of the world's population but collects only 9% of the world's blood supply, with the result that it faces a serious shortage of blood. It collects 7 million units a year but needs a total of 15 million units.
The problem is further compounded by inappropriate use of blood without separation into its components, with 80-85% of blood being used as whole blood, according to Dr Neelam Dhingra-Kumar, medical officer in the blood transfusion safety division of the World Health Organization (WHO).
If blood was used more appropriately, the number of transfusions could be brought down by 30%, says the International Red Cross. The Supreme Court in India banned the use of blood from professional blood sellers because they were considered a high risk group for HIV. However, these sellers now claim to be family members of patients needing blood, when in fact they