A plasma bank for treating COVID-19 patients has been set up at Kolkata Medical College and Hospital (KMCH), the first of its kind in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday.
So far, around 12 people who have recovered from COVID-19 have donated their plasma in the state to help in the treatment of coronavirus infected people.
"The state health department has built a plasma bank at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital's Immunohematology department for COVID-19 treatment," Ms Banerjee said at the state secretariat on Monday.
It is the second such initiative in the country. A plasma bank had been recently set up at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Delhi.
COVID-19 patients are being given plasma therapy in some hospitals. It involves taking antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing those into a coronavirus infected patient to help kick-start the immune system to fight the infection.
The facility at KMCH will be the nodal centre in the state for collection of plasma.
Among the 12 people who have donated plasma in the state are a couple of doctors, a policeman, and a student/
Ms Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, said that her government will build a centre of excellence at the Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital - one of the dedicated COVID-19 facilities in the state.
Doctors at that hospital have been doing a commendable job in fighting the pandemic, she said.
The chief minister, during the press meet, also launched the ''Jol Swapno'' scheme, which would connect at least two crore households in the rural areas of the state with drinking water facilities.
The project, estimated to cost Rs 58,000 crore, will be completed in five years, she said.
"Every household in rural Bengal will have access to drinking water. This is a very big task. This is our responsibility. It is called Jol Swapno. The project, under the Public Health and Engineering Department, will be completed in phases," she said.
Ms Banerjee said that the initiative will also create job opportunities for the youth, and thus improve the socio-economic condition of rural Bengal.