RBC Gilgit has been constructed through Phase I and was inaugurated by the G-B Chief Minister, Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman on June 3rd, 2016 joined by the German Ambassador, Ina Lepel; KfW Country Director, Wolfgang Moellers; and National Coordinator, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Hasan Prof. Abbas Zaheer. The RBC is linked with 6 hospital based blood bank located in DHQ Gilgit, DHQ Chilas, DHQ Gakuch, Gilgit medical center, Hunza Nagar and DHQ Astore. The Phase II of the project includes the construction of another RBC in Skardu. The RBC Skardu will be linked with six HBBs: DHQ Hospital Skardu, DHQ Hospital Khaplu Ghanche, Civil Hospital Thoar, Abdullah Hospital, Civil Hospital Totti and Civil Hospital Keris Khaplu. The Gilgit Blood Center is one of the 10 RBCs developed by the German government as part of the first phase of establishing of a nationwide network of 10 modern blood centers and an up-grade of 60 existing hospital based blood banks nationwide.
Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) covers an area of over 72,971 km² in the north of Pakistan and has one of the highest mountain peaks in the world. It had a population of 1,800,000 but its distribution is wide and communication difficult. G-B has three divisions and ten districts.
Blood Transfusion Services in G-B are essentially restricted to three urban centers (Gilgit, Skardu and Hunza). The large public sector hospitals have reasonably well equipped blood banks but due to management and technical issues, the system was not properly functioning. There was a severe shortage of properly qualified and trained staff in public sector blood centres. Armed forces have well equipped hospitals and blood banks in the region but little coordination exists between the public sector and the armed forces health care systems. Private sector is non-existent in blood sector in the region. There are 23 blood banks in G-B.
The political leadership is highly committed to improve the transfusion services in G-B and keen to gain maximum benefit from the German government funded Safe Blood Transfusion Project. However, the technical capacity remains a constraint. The SBTP regularly invites G- B technical personnel for trainings but proper teaching programmes need to be initiated in the region. Along with the short term trainings, regular staff exchange training programmes should also be introduced to make the staff of G-B familiar with the recommended technical procedures and advanced techniques available in the major centres in Pakistan.
The Safe Blood Transfusion Act 2016 has been prepared though the technical assistance from the SBTP. The draft bill is under consideration in the legislature for approval. The regulation of the blood sector will be through the G-B Healthcare Commission.