Balochistan Blood Transfusion Authority

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass. It is bordered by Afghanistan in the north and north-west and Iran in the south-west. The largest city and provincial capital is Quetta. The province is divided into six Divisions – Kalat, Makran, Nasirabad, Quetta, Sibi and Zhob which are further subdivided into 32 districts. The population as per the 2017 census is 12,344,408.

The Balochistan assembly approved its blood safety legislation in 2004. A Blood Transfusion Authority was notified in August 2004, under clause 4(1) of the Balochistan Safe Blood Transfusion Act, 2004. A Secretary of the Balochistan BTA (BBTA) was also notified. The BTA rules and regulations were framed in 2005. However, the Authority was never activated. The real regulatory work was initiated in 2017 through the technical assistance from the Islamabad Blood Transfusion Authority (IBTA) and the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP).

In March 2017, mapping of blood banks in Quetta was conducted through snowball technique and 72 blood banks were identified including many very small blood banks in miscellaneous settings. Out of these 72 blood banks, 69 perform screening on substandard manual devices. Most of these blood banks are operational in a single small room attached to a laboratory or a clinic, have very basic equipment and the immunohematology services are very rudimentary. Most of these blood banks usually collect only 2-3 donations per day but earn significantly even from this low workload. Since the mapping, many of these centers have ceased to perform blood banking work as the Balochistan BTA has become somewhat functional. Two Inspectors have been notified for the BTA. Inspections of nine blood banks in Quetta have been conducted so far accompanied by the Technical Experts from IBTA. Rest of the blood banks in Quetta will also be inspected soon. This will be followed by inspections in remaining districts of Balochistan. The meetings of the BBTA Board are held infrequently and administrative and technical decisions taken.

A modern Regional Blood Center has been developed in Quetta by the German government through the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme. This well-equipped RBC is providing quality blood components to its linked hospital blood banks. In the second phase of this project, public sector blood banks in Turbat, Loralai, Sibi and Khuzdar are being upgraded.     

According to the National Data Collection Report 2018, a total of 196,890 blood donations were collected in 2018 from 145 blood centers. Out of these donations 194,922 (99%) were from family/replacement donors while 1,968 (1%) were from voluntary donors. Majority of the donor population was male comprising 131,310 (67%) donations while females contributed 65,580 (33%). In 2018, 38,164 (19%) blood collections in Balochistan were processed into at least three blood components, i.e. Red Cell Concentrates (RCC), Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) and Platelet Concentrates, while 158,726 (81%) blood collections were used as whole blood