Blood banks plead for blood

  • Dwindling red blood cell, platelet reserves at NBTS

By Dinitha Rathnayake


The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), which is presently running on low reserves, is seeking urgent public help from donors to augment its dwindling reserves, The Morning learnt.

Speaking to The Morning, NBTS Director Dr. Lakshman Edirisinghe said that at present, they are running out of additional stocks of red blood cells and platelets (blood cells which perform the coagulation function).

“Previously, we had a stock of 12,000 Red Cell Concentrates (RCC; which are packed red blood cells) but at the moment we only have 8,500 RCC packs. Platelet storage has also reduced from 5,000 to a range of 2,500-3,000,” he added.

Dr. Edirisinghe said that according to the current situation, the NBTS only has storage sufficient for six days.

The all-island general requirement of blood units is around 500 per day, whereas it was 1,200 blood units earlier, he further added.

“Therefore, we urge people to come and donate blood due to this situation and not to worry about their safety. We have introduced a 24-hour hotline, 0112 369 931-4, where the donor can make a pre-booked appointment with limited interactions and they can come to their closest centre and donate blood between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” Dr. Edirisinghe added.

He further added that mobile camps are also encouraged but with limited crowds and in areas with a lesser risk of Covid-19.

“We don’t allow large gatherings, but if someone wants to organise a mobile camp, we are always there to help.“

The blood component requirement of Sri Lanka per year is around 450,000 units of blood collection.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, in February 2020, the daily supply requirement of RCC was around 1,500 packs while the platelet requirement was 800 packs per day.