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Background: The emergence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed a significant threat to public health all over the world and it has been a difficult challenge for blood banks in India to cope with the situation. In this study, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the blood transfusion service of India has been assessed.
Method: The present study is conducted in a stand-alone community blood bank situated in the city of Kolkata, India. A comparative evaluation of supply, demand, and utilization of blood components by analysing pre-pandemic and post-pandemic data from 2017 to 2020 has been presented.
Result: As no blood donation camp could be organized due to the country-wide lockdown along with restrictions in mobility and large gatherings during the initial period after the outbreak of the pandemic, a significant reduction of 80.35% in blood collection was observed. The demand for the Packed Red Blood Cell was decreased by 75% due to the postponement of elective surgeries and non-urgent clinical interventions. Blood utilization patterns also changed as 40% of the Packed Red Blood Cell was issued to thalassemia patients during this period.
Conclusion: Based on the evaluation of blood bank performance under pre-pandemic and post-pandemic conditions, recommendations such as spreading public awareness, maintaining sufficient safety stock, proper training of blood banking staff, communicating with nearby hospitals, donors, and medical professionals have been identified to be helpful to mitigate the adverse effects of extreme situations such as a pandemic.
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