NBTS, Sri Lanka

NBTS is a decentralized unit which comes under Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. NBTS is the sole supplier of blood and blood products to all state hospitals and some of the private hospitals which are registered under Ministry of Health for supply of blood and blood products.Having its head quarters at National Blood Centre (NBC), NBTS has 96 blood banks island wide. The categorization of blood banks is as follows...

1. National Blood Centre - the head quarters.
2. Cluster Centres.
3. Peripheral Blood Banks.


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History of Blood Transfusion Service in Sri Lanka

Blood transfusion is first performed in Sri Lanka in late 1950. it only became widely known to the public in 1959 with news report announcing the assassination of late Prime Minister Mr. S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake. An appeal was made to the public to donate blood.

Initially there was only one blood bank in Sri Lanka and it was confined to a room close to the surgical unit of National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL).

In 1960

'The' blood bank was shifted to its current building near the main entrance of NHSL.

In 1967

The red ? donor booklet was introduced as a certificate to free blood donors. Other donors were paid a minimum of 10 rupees for each donation.

In 1968

The blood bank was semi decentralized under Ministry of Health. It was under the direction of a superintendent blood transfusion service. It had a staff of 124. During this era blood was collected into glass bottles and collected blood was screened only for Malaria and Syphilis. Hospital Based Blood Banks are started to function in late 1968.

In 1979

Paid donation is discontinued and voluntary donation is encouraged to ensure the safety of collected blood.

In 1980

By this time the number of hospital based blood banks were 20 and 12 emergency bleeding centres were also established. Mobile blood donation programs were initiated with 2 mobile blood collecting teams.

In 1981

The blood bank of NHSL (then referred to as Central Blood Bank) started to use disposable plastic bags insted of glass bottles for blood collection. Component laboratory established in the blood bank of NHSL (Central Blood Bank).

In 1982

NBTS was taken under Laboratory Services from specialized program. Volunteer Non-remunerated blood donations increased to 97%.

"Anti A1" reagent manufactured for the first time in Sri Lanka Using "Kollu Seeds".

In 1985

Disposable plastic bags were introduced to the other blood banks other than Central Blood Bank. Screening of blood for hepatitis B was initiated.

In 1987

Emerging of a new health threat by AIDS, leads to introduction of screening of all collected blood for HIV 1 and 2 antibodies.

In 1988

Component laboratory facility was extended to some of the larger blood banks. (Colombo North and Kandy)

In 1990

Component laboratory facility was further extended to blood banks at Karapitiya, Kurunegala, CI Maharagama, Peradeniya, Anuradhapura, Matara and Badulla. By this time there were 32 blood banks and 10 emergency bleeding centres. Central Blood Bank functioned as the training centre for medical and paramedical personels of NBTS.

In 1999

The head quarters of NBTS established at national blood centre and most of the vital laboratories and majority of the staff shifted from Central Blood Bank to National Blood Centre. NBTS became a fully decentralized unit. The first director of NBC and NBTS was Dr. (Mrs.) Bindusara.

In 2009

Cluster centre concept established and most of the authority given to the cluster centres for effective delivery of service to various parts of the country.

In 2014

100% voluntary donor base achieved. No replacement or family donors are accepted to NBTS any more.


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100% of Sri Lankan blood donors are voluntory non rermunerated donors.

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Your precious donation of blood can save as many as 3 lives.

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You can donate blood in every 4 months time.

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14th JUNE

World Blood Donor Day.