Denis Ojwee and Wilfred Lamony Jwee
GULU - The ministry of health and the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS) today commission a multimillion blood bank in Gulu district.
Gulu Regional Blood Bank was constructed at a tune of 1.5 million US dollars (about sh3.9bn) in addition to three regional blood banks in Fort-portal, Mbarara, and Mbale as well as the one in Kampala.
The regional director Gulu Blood Bank, Dr. Sam Uringtho told New Vision on Thursday that there is always shortage of blood whenever students are on holiday because they are the highest blood donors.
Currently, the region is collecting only 300 units of blood every week compared to 700 units that used to be collected during the insurgency when people were still living in camps.
Uringtho said the region needs about 2000 units of blood every month yet sometimes a big percentage of blood collected is discarded due to the presence of infections like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
“I want to encourage the community to donate blood because blood donation is a societal responsibility,” he said.
US Ambassador to Uganda, Scott H. DeLisi and health minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda are set to officiate at the ceremony that will be held at Plot 6 Princess Road, Laro Division, Gulu Municipality.
According to a press release from the US mission in Kampala, people will have the opportunity to donate blood after medical examinations, to ensure the safety of all potential blood donors.
With support from the US government, UBTS has developed a centrally coordinated national blood service with a decentralized network of seven regional blood banks and six collection centres.
Between 2004 and 2012, UBTS received 30.4 million dollars (about sh78bn) from the American people to support the provision of safe blood and blood products to health facilities throughout Uganda.