Mumbai: Blood will be provided free of cost to patients receiving treatment at state-run hospitals in Maharashtra from December 12, Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced on Thursday.
Tope made the announcement after donating blood along with party colleague and NCP Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule here.
The minister expressed concern over the fast depleting blood stock in the state and urged people to come forward in large numbers to donate the vital body fluid.
“Earlier, processing charges of Rs 800 were used to be imposed on patients needing blood.
“From Saturday (Dec 12) onwards, no such charges will be levied on patients and blood will be available to them free of cost (at government-run hospitals),” he said.
There are 344 active blood banks in the state.
The state is facing a shortage of blood supply chiefly because of people avoiding crowds in view of the coronavirus outbreak out of fear of catching the infection, Tope said.
Otherwise, Maharashtra always has had sufficient supply and stock of blood, said the minister.
The current stock of blood in the state would last only for the next 5 to 6 days. We need more supply of blood as pending operations and surgeries (delayed due to COVID-19) are now taking place across the state,” Tope said.
As the state is offering blood supply at its hospitals free of cost, the financial burden will be borne by the National Health Mission, he said.
The state’s Blood Transfusion Council has cautioned about limited availability of blood across Maharashtra. I appeal to people to come forward to donate blood and save lives, said the minister.
A special blood donation drive is going to be organized in the state from December 13 to 20 to celebrate NCP leader Sharad Pawars 80th birthday which falls on December 12.