Arua regional blood bank has received a refrigerator that can store up to 750 units of blood. The hospital has been having challenges of blood expiring due to lack of storage facilities.
Blood is stored in a blood bank refrigerator at a temperature of one to six degrees. Its shelf life is 42 days from the date of collection, according to blood transfusion services.
The hospital’s blood bank had a small refrigerator that could store only 250 units of blood to serve the entire West Nile.
The principal medical officer of Arua regional blood bank, Dr Isaac Atiku, said the region requires about 35,000 units of blood annually to serve more than 3.5 million people.
“With the influx of refugees from the neighbouring countries of South Sudan and DR Congo, the demand for safe blood is high and sometimes we experience blood wastage due to inadequate fridges,” he said yesterday.
Dr Atiku said the smaller refrigerator will now be moved to Nebbi hospital in order to serve the population of Pakwach, Nebbi and Zombo districts.
He added that Omugo, Rhino Camp and Adumi health centres also lack fridges but only receive blood which is used immediately.
The State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, said: “This refrigerator is a milestone to saving the lives and avoiding wastage of blood. By supporting this cause, more mothers will be saved since more blood will be available. But people should continue to donate blood due to the high demand, especially in this region.”
The regional blood bank that has been having challenges in maintenance of vehicles donated by Arua Regional Referral hospital, serves about 1.38 million people, including 815,000 people from South Sudan living as refugees.
MTN, a telecommunication company, donated the refrigerator last week. Mr Bryan Bassa, the acting senior manager for MTN Uganda, said the donation aims at improving the healthcare service.
“We also gave refrigerators to Mbarara, Mbale, Arua and Nakasero because we want to reduce maternal mortality rates, especially the mothers who need blood most during child birth.
“This will also save the lives of accident victims and children,” he said, adding that the company spent more than Shs347 million to purchase the refrigerators.