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No plasma bank in BGH in lack of fund

Bokaro : At a time when other medical centres in the state began plasma therapy soon after Covid-19 cases started surfacing, the dedicated Covid Hospital, Bokaro General Hospital (BGH) failed to bring their thoughts into reality. Despite all adequate infrastructures needed to install Plasma bank, the unavailability of funds in purchasing equipment affected the project.

BGH management claimed that they have asked district administration to provide funds for the needed equipment to install Plasma Bank. However they are ready to provide basic infrastructure for it. Health department officials feel BGH being a unit of maharatana Steel Authourity of India Limited (SAIL) can easily buy those equipment. Practically none of them seems ready to pool funds for installation of Plasma Bank.

It was in August first week itself, BGH worked on a plan to initiate the process of convalescent plasma therapy as well as Plasmapheresis soon, amid rise in number of symptomatic and serious positive patients. BGH of Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL) had then begun preparing a database of cured positive patients.

Incharge of Blood Bank of BGH, Dr Shravan was then asked by director medical service, BGH, Dr A K Singh to maintain contact numbers, blood group and date of discharge of Covid-19 positive patients discharged. The database will help in reaching out to the cured patients for plasma donation in the bank. Meanwhile they can also administer plasma directly to the serious positive patient under convalescent plasma therapy.

 “As per the ICMR guidelines, a person is eligible for plasma donation only after 14 days of his recovery and if tests negative for coronavirus positive on RT-PCR,” said a BGH officer. Briefing more about it, he said, “people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies, proteins their body uses to fight off infections to the disease in their blood”.

Since April till today, more than 450 positive patients of coronavirus have been admitted in BGH. Apart from a dozen deaths and many of those who were referred to higher centres, other patients were cured. At present there are more than 30 positive patients in BGH. If Plasma bank would have launched in BGH, at present it would be one of the biggest and can cater to other needy patients across the state.

Plasma Bank requires a Plasmapheresis machine and two freezers which cost around Rs 30 lakhs. However BGH which belongs to maharatna SAIL has to ponder for funds in this time of Covid crisis has shot up debate.

Meanwhile convalescent plasma that deals in taking blood from cured positive people of the same blood group and administering it to the patient after separating plasma has also not started. It doesn’t require any equipment.  Those who recovered from Covid-19 can donate their Plasma visiting BGH when needed by any serious patient.

Plasma therapy may be helpful for people with COVID-19 who aren’t helped by other treatments. Doctors believe that convalescent plasma can be given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus. However BGH doctors find plasma therapy not so encouraging in treating serious positive patients.

Civil surgeon, Dr Ashok Pathak said that “move to install a Plasma Therapy unit by BGH was taken but it hasn’t been fulfilled yet. We are still in process of installing it”.

In the state other big hospitals like RIMS, Ranchi and MGM and TMH hospitals in Jamshedpur have plasma therapy units. In convalescent plasma therapy there is a limitation that the blood group of the cured corona positive donor and the patient to be administered should be the same, but in Plasmapheresis no particular blood group of cured Covid-19 positive is required, etc. It can help in forming plasma banks, said Dr A K Pathak.

Meanwhile there are many donors in the district who won the fight with Covid-19 and are willing to donate plasma for the noble cause. They are sad with such unwillingness of BGH in installing Plasma Bank. Few of the donors including CISF personnels had donated their plasma to needy patients going to Ranchi. There are 3981 people tested positive by Friday morning. Of them, 453 cases are active and 30 of them died.

Photo : Bokaro General Hospital in Bokaro

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