Uganda needs 450,000 units of blood annually to save lives

A traffic officer donates blood in Kasangati, Wakiso District on June 17, 2022. Photos/ Anthony Wesaka

What you need to know:

  • According to Mr Samuel David Wante, the clinical team leader at Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, said there is a need to collect at least 450,000 units of blood if lives are to be saved per year

With the full reopening of the economy, the Uganda Blood Transfusion services has resumed its mandate of collecting blood from crowded places used in saving lives of those who need blood transfusion.

On Friday, the Blood Transfusion Services in conjunction with a civil society organisation, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), were in Kasangati Town Council, urging residents to donate blood.

According to Mr Samuel David Wante, the clinical team leader at Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, said there is a need to collect at least 450,000 units of blood if lives are to be saved per year.

"Uganda has about 45 million people and we need one percent of the blood of 45 million people (450,000 units of blood) per year to save lives of pregnant women, those with severe malaria, those who have been involved in accidents among others," Mr Wante said as he urged Kasangati residents to donate blood.

He added that during Covid-19 lockdown, the country lost between 18 and 20 expectant mothers because blood was less given that the would-be donors, like students were at home.

A prison warder donates blood in Kasangati, Wakiso District on June 17, 2022.

"Now that we are at 80 percent blood collection, we are facing challenges like lack of gifts (T-shirts, caps) to give to the donors since some of them have since pulled out," Mr Wante said.

"We therefore, call upon well-wishers to come to our rescue and give us gifts to enable us collect blood." he added.

CEHURD lauded government for increasing the financial allocation to facilitate the collection and processing of blood in the 2022/2023 budget.

They urged government to fast-track the completion of the regional blood banks in Soroti, Bunyoro and Karamoja, to progressively allocate resources to ensure that all health centers have functional blood fridges to ensure that blood is accessible as and when needed and to take stern action to end the selling of blood in public health facilities.

Health statistics show that based on the current population projections, Uganda Blood Transfusion Services anticipates that the country may require around 510,030 units of blood by close of this year. This is against the current blood collection of about 300,000 units of blood.

Of the blood currently collected, 29 percent is used to treat people with severe malaria, 17 percent to treat people with sickle anemia , 15 percent is used to treat cancer, six percent to treat accident victims with the remaining 16 percent being used to treat other cases like burns, and surgical procedures.

Of the 336 out of the 100,000 people who die during child birth, haemorrhage continues to be the leading cause of maternal death, contributing 42 percent of all deaths reviewed.

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