By Taddeo Bwambale
Construction of Uganda’s second blood bank at Mengo Hospital will start in July, after Rotarians and supporters raised sh400m for the project.
The Rotary blood bank will supplement Uganda’s only blood bank at Nakasero managed by the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS).
Construction of the new blood bank was one of the key projects in the $3m budget for Rotary District 9211 for the year 2014/2015.
The budget was unveiled at the three-day 89th Rotary District Conference and Assembly at Speke Resort Munyonyo conference where 1,350 Rotarians from across the world attended.
The new blood bank will cost sh1.5b, according to Emmanuel Katongole, the Governor of Rotary District 9211 which comprises Uganda and Tanzania.
In an interview with New Vision, Katongole confirmed that construction was expected to start within three months.
“The architectural work for the blood bank has been done. If the funds are raised in time, construction of the facility will be complete within three years,” Katongole said.
The state- of-the-art blood bank will be built on 800-square metres at Mengo Hospital, with capacity to handle 20,000 units of blood.
Uganda needs stock of at least 340,000 units of blood at any time, equivalent to 1% of the country’s population, as recommended by World Health Organisation.
The Nakasero blood bank faces a shortfall of over 30,000 units of blood every year, making supply of blood in health centres during emergencies difficult.
In 2013, Uganda faced a shortage of blood in major hospitals, paralyzing operations such as surgery and emergency care.
Last month, the Rotary Club of Uganda launched a campaign to raise funds for a new blood bank at Mengo hospital.
According to Katongole, Rotary will provide support to the facility for three years after it has been handed over to Mengo hospital which will manage it.
Rotary will equip the new facility with modern equipment, provide highly trained staff and conduct regular blood donation drives.