Blood banks are finding it difficult to meet the fast-growing demand for platelets as the number of dengue patients across the country has reached record-high, people at hospitals and storage facilities said. (FE)
Some 824 more people were hospitalised in the last 24 hours until 8:00am on Sunday, according to health emergency operation centre and control room under the state-run Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
With the latest number, the overall tally of patients infected with dengue fever this season soared to a new high of 11,654, the directorate said.
The situation is too bad that the blood banks in most cases could not deliver the required blood in time, deepening worries among the family members of patients.
The FE correspondent found such an unpleasant scenario while visiting some of the city’s key blood banks. People were found in long queue to get their requisition delivered.
Talking to the FE, Shamima Nasrin Munny of Shantinagar-based Quantum blood bank said the demand for fresh frozen plasma (FFP) keeps mounting, putting extra pressure on the blood storage.
Plasma is a blood product made from the liquid portion of whole blood. It is used to treat conditions in which there are low blood clotting factors or low levels of other blood proteins.
“The daily demand for blood was around 200 bags a few months ago, but now it has crossed 450 bags. And the demand keeps increasing,” she said.
It costs Tk 3,800 to conduct different tests before the blood can be processed, although blood collection and cross-matching is free at the lab, she said.
The situation was almost same at Red Crescent, Islami Bank and Sondhani blood banks.
Senior technologist at Islami Bank blood bank Saiful Islam said the demand for blood has almost doubled this month.
“We supplied some 450 bags of blood in June. But so far this month, we have supplied 800 bags and the pressure is rising fast,” he said before responding to a person waiting for O-positive (+) blood requisition.
Dr Tarek M Hussain of the Red Crescent Society said four donors are needed for a bag of platelets, but for many, it is impossible to find four donors at a time. So families and friends of dengue patients are reaching out to the blood banks.
The platelet counts in a healthy adult range from 150,000 to 400,000 per micro-litre of blood, according to the physicians.
But when a dengue patient gets haemorrhagic fever, it causes damage to the lymphatic system and blood vessels, triggering bleeding from the nose and gums. This happens when the number of platelets, tiny blood cells that help form clots to stop bleeding, drops in a patient’s system.
Meanwhile, the government has fixed the fees of Tk 500 for the medical tests to diagnose dengue in all private healthcare centres across the country.
The decision came after media reports and social media posts over the excessive fees charged by private hospitals, clinics and diagnosis centres to diagnose the mosquito-borne deadly disease.
The health directorate issued a circular in this connection after a meeting with owners and managing directors of private hospitals and clinics on the day.
According to the decision, the maximum fees for NS1 Antigen test will be Tk 500, IgG + IgM or IgG/IgM test Tk 500, and CBC (RBC + WBC + Hematocrit) test Tk 400.
Earlier, the costs of the tests in private diagnostic centres, hospitals and clinics were Tk 1,200-Tk2,000 for NS1 Antigen test, Tk 800-Tk 1,600 for IgG + IgM or IgG/IgM, and Tk 1,000 for CBC test.