The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) has launched the first-ever blood product irradiation service in Uganda. This new initiative aims to enhance the safety and quality of blood transfusions by employing advanced irradiation techniques.
Blood product irradiation is a process that involves exposing blood components, such as red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, to controlled doses of radiation.
According to Dr. Francis Ssali, the Deputy Executive Director, Research and Clinical Services at JCRC, the facility can process 288 units of blood (48 cycles) each day with an average patient wait time of 4 minutes, 7 seconds.
The products that require irradiation include whole blood, packed red cells, platelets and Neutrophil transfusion. “Radiation neither damages nor renders the blood product radioactive.” says Dr. Ssali.
The damaged lymphocytes are rendered incapable of dividing hence causing a reaction in the body.
As JCRC celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023, they are thrilled to introduce this service that will offer Ugandans and the rest of Africa effective and high-quality blood transfusion services.
This service will also support the JCRC Bone Marrow Transplant program that it hopes to launch by October 2023. Transplant patients require irradiated blood products and they can get them right on site.
The support from Ministry of Health and Government have been central to getting the JCRC to this milestone.
Dr. Diana Atwine, confirmed her support for organizations like JCRC that have shown potential in enhancing the health sector through innovative research in Uganda and Africa.