5.28% of blood donors in Sindh infected with hepatitis, HIV

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The Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority reported that 1,357 blood donors were diagnosed with HIV in Sindh during the first eight months of the current year after their blood samples were examined at blood banks in 24 districts.

In a meeting of the provincial health department, the SBTA director, Dr. Durre Naz Jamal, said, “During the first eight months of 2021, nearly 455,742 donors donated their blood at more than 160 blood banks in Sindh. Out of which 1,357 donors were found to be infected with HIV, which amounts to 0.29 percent of the samples.”

She added, “Of the 455,742 blood samples tested in the province, nearly 24,088 were found reactive or contaminated with either of five different diseases.”

Dr. Naz said that 5.28 percent (24,088) of the donors were diagnosed with one or more contagious diseases. Blood samples in Pakistan are screened for five infectious illnesses — HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, and malaria — to prevent recipients from having these diseases through blood transfusion.

However, unscreened blood is sometimes transfused to people as most blood banks lack nucleic acid testing (NAT), a molecular technique for screening donated blood.

The SBTA data provided to the provincial health minister revealed the number of donors affected by contagious diseases.

Diseases Number/Percentage of blood donors
Hepatitis B8,155 or 1.79%
Hepatitis C7,995 or 1.75%
Syphilis6,142 or 1.34%
Malaria448

 

Following this, the Provincial Minister for Health and Population, Dr. Azra Pechuho, directed the SBTA to strictly implement the screening system for safe blood transfusion across the province.

Dr. Azra also said that a dashboard of blood screening results should be immediately formed to prevent the spread of diseases caused by blood transfusions.

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