Saturday February 17 2018

Don’t politicise blood donation

By Editor

On Wednesday, leaders of the Opposition party Forum for Democratic Change accused officials of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) of playing cheap politics by shunning a blood donation drive they arranged following a call by the agency to restock blood after a shortfall.
The Opposition party had mobilised hundreds of its supporters to donate blood in response to a distress call by UBTS, but the Blood Transfusion staff did not show up throughout the day.
The agency late last year cried out for blood donation, attributing the stock-out to prolonged holiday season for students who constitute the major blood donors.
At the time the agency said it had a shortfall of 160,000 units of blood and called on well-wishers to donate blood which, among other things, is required for transfusing expectant women and patients undergoing surgery procedures.
To this effect, staff of Blood Transfusion services was quick to draw blood from the United States embassy employees recently, and not appearing at the FDC party headquarters to collect blood is beyond comprehension.
It now appears that the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services is getting embroiled in a political party divide that has characterised party politics in the country; a situation that is very unfortunate and uncalled for.
The need for blood in emergencies and surgery procedures does not discriminate according to party affiliation, colour, or tribe. Blood is blood with its four main blood groups (types of blood) and when need arises, one does not ask from which political party members the required blood was collected from.
We should not mix politics with health. It’s high time we separated politics from critical matters and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services should stop being partisan. One does not need common sense to know that during such critical times of emergencies, it does not matter where the blood was got from.
It is disheartening for a cause of this nature to be misrepresented to that magnitude. It means Uganda Blood Transfusion Services was not genuine in its cry out for blood if only it can afford to be selective in terms of which group should or should not donate blood. The agency owes blood recipients an explanation should it occur in future that they need people to donate blood again.

The issue: Mixing politics with health.

Our view: It’s high time we separated politics from critical matters and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services should stop being partisan. One does not need common sense to know that during such critical times of emergencies, it does not matter where the blood was got from.

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