By Gloria Nakajubi
The Rotary Club of Uganda recently launched a campaign to raise over sh1.5b for the construction of a high-tech blood bank at Mengo hospital.
While launching the project at a corporate breakfast meeting for outstanding CEOs, Rotary District Governor, Emmanuel Katongole noted that the new facility is to be equipped with the most sophisticated equipment, supported with highly trained staff and regular blood donations.
He added that the funding for this cause will be a mix of rotary international grants especially for the equipment and staff training, private donations from Rotarians, private individuals and corporate organizations.
Among the other fundraising events is the Kofi Olomidde concert that is slated for April 26th at the Lugogo indoor stadium which will also feature Uganda’s biggest local artistes.
The co-chairman of the project and governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile emphasized the need for public –private partnerships so as to secure the health of the nation.
“We can not stand on the sidelines and look at government, they have limitations. So we need to mobilize the private sector and working through the media we shall be able to raise awareness and engage the general public,” Mutebile said.
The ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the Blood bank will be among the milestones during this year’s 89th District conference and Assembly for Rotary district 9211 which include Uganda and Tanzania to be held from the 23rd -26th of April 2014.
According to data from the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), the number of units recommended by WHO is 1% of the total population. Uganda with a population of about 34 million therefore would require 340,000 units. But the need varies from country to country depending on peculiar conditions in the affected country.
It is also established that collecting a unit of blood according to UBTS costs approximately sh100,000.
While appearing before the parliamentary committee on health in August last year, UBTS director, Dorothy Kyeyune is quoted saying the country had only 20 mobile blood collection teams which were not enough to meet the high demand for blood in hospitals and health centres.