LAHORE: Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique said on Wednesday that an amended draft of the Punjab Blood Transfusion Safety Act of 2015 had been finalised. He said the draft would now be sent to the Law Department for vetting.
He was speaking to the media after a meeting of the Punjab Blood Transfusion Authority.
Rafique said the amended draft proposed to increase the penalty for transfusion of substandard blood to a prison term of between 10 and 14 years and up to Rs1 million fine. He said currently the penalty for the crime was a prison term of up to three years and up to Rs15,000 fine.
Rafique said blood banks involved in transfusion of substandard blood to patients deserved no leniency. He said another proposal in the amended draft was to depute in each district at least one official responsible for regular inspections of blood banks. He said there would be more than one inspector in big cities. He said 40 inspectors would soon be recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission for the purpose. Furthermore, he said the Lahore High Court would soon be requested to allow drug courts to hear petitions filed against blood banks for transfusion of substandard blood.
BTA Secretary Jafar Saleem informed the meeting that so far data of 500 blood banks had been collected. He said inspections had been conducted at 78 blood banks, licences issued to 50 new blood banks and licences of 70 banks canceled.
Khwaja Imran Nazir assured the meeting that data collection across the province would be finished in time.
He said services of drug inspectors should be availed for inspection of blood banks until the recruitment of new inspectors.
Health DG Zahid Pervaiz said regional directors of the Health Department could also be given the responsibility.
Pakistan Red Crescent Society Secretary Mehboob Qadir Shah, German Institution GIZ official Paul Kohort, SIMS Nighat Majeed and Institute of Blood Transfusion Service Director Zafar Iqbal were also present at the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.