–Health ministry spokesperson says blood centre building to be completed within next six months
ISLAMABAD: Authorities have failed to construct a state-of-the-art regional blood centre in the federal capital which, sources say, faces further delay mainly due to the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government’s ‘indifference’ towards the health sector.
Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that the Islamabad Regional Blood Centre was to be constructed under the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP) here at Park Road in Chak Shahzad which was scheduled to be completed by June this year. However, the authorities concerned failed to complete the project in the given one-year time despite the issuance of foreign fund.
They said that the centre was being constructed with the support of KfW – a German government-owned development bank – with the project amounting to Rs175 million that would regulate blood banks in the capital, besides ensuring the supply of quality blood to patients.
The previous government paid little attention to the health sector and announced mega health-related projects, including the constructions of four state-of-the-art hospitals in the federal capital but not a single hospital was constructed during the last five years, sources added.
LOW BLOOD DONATIONS:
Despite a 70pc population of those under 29 years, the practice of voluntarily blood donations is very low in Pakistan which is be evident from the fact that only 10 per cent blood comes from voluntary donors, while 90 per cent of the collection comes from unsafe families’ replacement donations.
According to WHO statistics, about 112.5 million blood donations are collected globally of which half are in high-income countries, as 57 countries collect 100 per cent of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.
The WHO recommended that all blood donations must be screened for evidence of infection prior to the release of the blood and its components for clinical or manufacturing use. Screening of all blood donations should be mandatory for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
No country can cater to the needs of the patients without a system based on voluntary-unpaid blood donations, particularly regular voluntary donations.
It is pertinent to mention here that the foundation stone of the Islamabad Regional Blood Centre building was laid down by then state minister for capital administration and development division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Choudhry back in May 5, 2017.
A senior official said that the centre would be a procurement and distribution body that would ensure quality systems to regulate all activities such as mobilisation and retention of voluntary blood donors, maintenance of donor database, collection of blood donations and processing, screening, testing, component preparation and storage of the prepared components.
The official said that the health sector remained unattended in the previous government which was widely divided among the recently-dissolved CADD ministry, health ministry and interior ministry due to which no attention had been given for the improvement of the sector.
He said that soon after coming into power, the government dissolved CADD and brought all health-related departments under health ministry.
When this scribe contacted Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Spokesperson Sajid Shah, he said that the previous government was responsible for the delay of the completion of the project.
Shah, however, said that the building would be completed within five to six months since all impediments in the way of its construction work have been removed and everything has now been streamlined.