Ugandans have been urged to join the NSSF National Blood Donation Drive taking place across the country to prevent a shortage during the school holidays.
“Uganda’s healthcare system, uses about 1,500 units of blood daily, but we as the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services can collect only on average 1,250 units daily of the required blood. The problem of shortage can become critical especially during December and January when learning institutions are closed,” said Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune, the Executive Director of the UBTS at the Ministry of Health.
The Annual NSSF Blood Donation Drive takes place this week, starting Monday January 13th 2020 to Friday January 17th January 2020 at various locations across the country.
Addressing the media at Workers House in Kampala, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said the annual drive is in in response to an appeal from our partners to collect more blood to prevent shortages that normally hit the country in January.
“Given that blood is unique and cannot be manufactured, it therefore means that regular donations by unpaid blood donors remains the only source of sufficient, quality and safe blood. Our campaign is aimed at recruiting voluntary, unpaid blood donors across the country,” he said.
Donation centres in Kampala have been set up at City Square, Clock Tower, Mukwano Arcade, Sekaziga House, Good Shade, BwaiseRoundabout, Workers House Lobby, William Street, Kibuye Roundabout and Nateete at Samona Building.
In Mukono, the centre is located at SombeSupermarket and in Entebbe, at Kitooro town.
Other centres are located in major towns countrywide. These include Hoima (KatikaraMarket), Masaka (Kirumba TC and Katwe TC), Jinja (Central Market), Mbarara (Independence Park Grounds) and Gulu (Gulu Main Market).
In Lira the drive will take place at Alebtong AjuriMarket, Fort Portal at Mpanga Market, Bududa at Bududa Corner and in Nebbi at Pentagon Grounds.
Byarugaba said that for sustainability purposes, the NSSF Blood Donation campaign also aims at promoting a blood donation culture amongst Ugandans, thus enabling Uganda to meet the health sector’s safe blood requirements.
According to the World Health Organisation, the recommended blood collection rate is 10 whole blood units per 1,000 inhabitants.
The campaign launch also saw some blood transfusion beneficiaries recount how their lives were saved because safe blood was available in hospitals at the time of need.
Anne Ssempijja and Evelyn Awor both narrated how they developed complications during child birth and were saved by a blood transfusion at a critical moment they needed blood.
“No one can tell if I would be alive today had I not received blood in such an hour of need,” Ssempijja said.