A visit to any health facility the past two weeks portrayed a picture of doom for any patient should the doctor prescribe blood transfusion. This is because there was a general shortage of blood in the country.
The director Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Dr Dorothy Byabazaire blamed the blood shortage on limited supplies of kits to collect and test the blood as well as a poor blood donating culture from the population.
Dr Byabazaire said there where hardly any supplies of blood test kits from the National Medical Stores and this greatly impacted on the blood availability.
“But despite the shortages the situation is now under control, people have donated and kits provided,” she said.
She said even then, the levels of blood collected have drastically gone down blaming this on the poor blood donation culture.
We have established that 90% of our blood collections are from schools which are on holiday.
“We have a target of collecting 50 units of blood a day, but most often only 10 units are collected,” she said.
While the country needs 300,000 units of blood at any given time the blood bank is only able to collect 260,000 units with only perennial donors available.
“Women donate every after 4 months from the previous donation and men are given three months before they can donate blood again,” she said.
Blood expires 35 days from the day of collection calling for the need to have more Ugandans available to donate blood since blood can not be manufactured.