Tajik doctors work to improve safety of blood donations

Tajik doctors work to improve safety of blood donations - Central Asia News Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan-Sports Business and Entertainment

Nigina Sharipova

2008-10-29

DUSHANBE, Oct. 25 — In 2008, Tajikistan saw a two-fold increase in the number of blood donors, according to Burkhoniddin Bakhovidinov, the director of the State blood centre.

Participants in voluntary blood drives are one of the safest donor groups; the lack of financial compensation tends to lower the number of drugs addicts and sex workers who are higher-risk donors. Furthermore, all volunteer donors in Tajikistan undergo a series of medical exams before their blood is drawn.

But Bakhovidinov also noted that total blood safety is not guaranteed anywhere in the world. In more developed nations, however, the risk of HIV or hepatitis infection has been minimised through very careful blood screening procedures.

"In many countries, a widespread practice utilized for screening blood donations is quarantining, in which plasma from the donated blood is put in cold storage for six months. We don't have this kind of equipment in Tajikistan," Bakhovidinov said. "The state budget doesn't allocate money for servicing the country's blood supply, and this equipment would cost more than $30 million [USD]. We look to independent financing, particularly through international assistance, for conducting our blood analyses."

"Before 2000, there were some incidences of transfusion patients being infected with hepatitis B and C, as well as a few HIV infections,” Bakhovidinov said. “We simply didn't have the ability to test for the presence of these viruses in the blood at that time. Since 2000, however, Tajikistan has not seen a single HIV infection as a result of a blood transfusion."

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