KARACHI: The Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) organised an interactive meeting with transfusion medicine experts at SBTA office on Saturday. Along with SBTA officials, representatives of public, private, non-governmental organisation (NGO) blood banks and thalassemia centres discussed the reform agenda for the SBTA. The meeting's objective was to take provincial experts in confidence with regards to the reform agenda and the SBTA's plans to regulate blood centres in Sindh along national and international recommendations and guidelines.
SBTA Director Dr Durenaz Jamal said that the SBTA was now regulating provincial blood banks in a methodical manner as per recommendations, and was adopting a non-punitive and constructive approach to strengthen the standard of services at known blood centres.
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While at the same time smaller blood banks, operating in miscellaneous settings such as clinics, pharmacies, laboratories etc without proper human resources and facilities, were being dealt with strictly according to law. He claimed that it was expected with this new approach that the commercially oriented centres which provide unsafe and poor quality services will soon be legally eliminated or will cease to exist.
She shared with the participants the data from 147 licenced blood banks in Sindh along with the analysis. This is the first time that the SBTA has collected authentic and detailed data from all licenced blood banks in Sindh.
The director also discussed the experience of outsourcing four new regional blood centres and their 29 attached hospital based blood banks which was claimed to be beneficial for Sindh's people in terms of blood safety, accessibility and affordability.
Islamabad Blood Transfusion Authority (IBTA) Chairperson and the National Coordinator of the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme of the health ministry, Prof Hasan Abbas Zaheer thanked SBTA for coordinating with IBTA and expressed his support for reforming the system of licence and registration of blood banks in Sindh. He stressed the need for ensuring the presence of minimum standards - human resource, equipment and facilities - as a basic pre-requisite for licensing.
Any blood bank, whether from the public or private sector, not full-filling minimum standards should be provided with reasonable time to address the deficiencies and then re-inspected before being granted a licence, he said.
He added that after ensuring this primary objective, subsequent inspections should focus on improving technical standards, practices, donor management, voluntary blood donations, quality of consumables, automation, rational use of blood, component therapy, hemovigilance, data management and other things.
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IBTA technical expert Usman Waheed shared the IBTA Blood Bank Inspection checklist with the participants. He briefed the meeting regarding the process of unbiased and non-subjective uniform inspection.
The SPTA plans to notify some of the leading experts to act as honourary inspectors of SBTA.
The meeting was interactive with detailed discussions taking place during presentations. SBTA leadership was congratulated on adopting a participatory and inclusive approach for the regulation of the blood transfusion sector in Sindh. This new system has been developed by the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme through the grant by the German KfW Development Bank.