National Social Security Fund has launched a donation drive in which they seek to collect over 10,000 units of blood countrywide.
Speaking during the launch, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said because the number of people who need blood is always growing, there is need to collect more through donation drives.
“Because blood is not manufactured anywhere, the only way to get it is through donations. We hope we can raise at least 10,000 units through the five-day donation drive,”Byarugaba said.
He said that because blood is critical in the care and treatment of coronary heart diseases, HIV/AIDS, perinatal conditions (complications before during and after child birth), malaria, road traffic accidents, cancer and sickle cells among others yet these are some of the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa- including Uganda, there is need for more blood.
“Blood is a perishable commodity that lasts only 35 days. We therefore have to refill what has been given to patients or what has already become bad.”
He said that the five-day drive will be carried out at all the regional blood banks throughout the country in a bid to raise the required units.
According to the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) Executive Director, Dr.Dorothy Kyeyune the country is currently not suffering from blood shortage but noted there is need to have a lot in stock in case of any emergencies.
“We need blood every day, every minute and every second because there is an accident victim, anemic child, pregnant mother or any other patient who badly needs this blood yet it can only be got through donation. If there are no donors, there will not be any blood,”Dr.Kyeyune said.
Over the weekend, Sandra Akello, a 22-year-old mother lost her life at Apac Hospital in northern Uganda due to a lack of blood for transfusion after being referred to the hospital after a forced abortion.
Commenting about the incident, the UBTS Executive Director insisted there is no blood shortage in any part of the country but noted that death could have come due to other reasons.
“There is no shortage. There is blood at the regional blood bank but the hospital could have failed to collect it to replace what they had already used up,”Dr.Kyeyune said.
She revealed that Uganda Blood Transfusion Services supplies blood to over 200 hospitals throughout the country, whereas each hospital needs at least 50 units a day, noting that there is a need to replace what has already been given to various hospitals.
Statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that Uganda has an annual demand of about 340,000 units of blood but falls short by over 100,000 units.
Men can donate blood three times a year, whereas their female counterparts can do the same exercise, twice.
According to the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service, a small percentage of the population eligible to donate blood does so and this has contributed to a collection of less blood.